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NASA’s Voyager 1 first spacecraft to exit solar system

The new and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been travelling for about a year through plasma.

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NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft,launched 36 years ago — and now 19 billion kilometres from the sun — has become the first man-made object to venture into interstellar space,the US space agency has said.

The new and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been travelling for about a year through plasma,or ionised gas,present in the space between stars,NASA said at a news conference,Thursday.

“Now that we have new,key data,we believe this is mankind’s historic leap into interstellar space,” said Ed Stone,Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology,Pasadena.

“The Voyager team needed time to analyse those observations and make sense of them. Scientists do not know when Voyager will reach the undisturbed part of interstellar space where there is no influence from Sun,” he said.

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Voyager is in a transitional region immediately outside the solar bubble. “We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw these oscillations in our data — they showed us the spacecraft was in an entirely new region,comparable to what was expected in interstellar space,and totally different than in the solar bubble,” said Don Gurnett who led the new analysis along with and the plasma wave science team at the University of Iowa.

First published on: 14-09-2013 at 02:49 IST
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