N.A.S.A. Reveals that the Voyager 2 Spacecraft has Left the Heliosphere

(Washington, D.C.) The mystique of the Voyager 1, and, Voyager 2 Spacecrafts; has positively impacted society.  The previously said, has been true for decades.  The impact is more than just dreams and fascinations, of space travel.  In fact and recently, N.A.S.A. revealed that, the Voyager 2 Spacecraft exited the heliosphere.  The revelation was made public, at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (A.G.U.).  The exit date is believed to be November 5th, 2018.

            On November 5th, 2018, Voyager 2 crossed over into interstellar space, when it left the outer edge of the heliosphere.  Voyager 1, incidentally did the same thing in the year, 2012.  However, Voyager 2 still had working instruments, which provided data to the mission scientists.  The Voyager 1, regrettably doesn’t have those same working instruments.  Those instruments stopped working, on the Voyager 1 around the year 1980.  The heliopause is the term that, is used for the interior, of the heliosphere.  Additionally and interestingly, gathered data shows a boundary of weak hot solar winds, meeting cold solar winds.  The latter is also considered to be, a dense interstellar medium.  The lack of data, after the fact means that, the Voyager 2 Spacecraft left, or, exited the heliosphere.  The previously said works this way; specifically, the sun sends out plasma.  This plasma that flows away from the sun, creates a solar wind.  The solar wind, as a bubble, is called the heliosphere.  The heliosphere does wrap around the planets, which comprise our solar system.  On board the Voyager 2, is a special instrument.  This instrument is called, the Plasma Science Experiment (P.L.S.).  On the Voyager 1, the P.L.S. stopped working in the year 1980; it is believed.  The Plasma Science Experiment, is able to use the electrical current of the solar wind, to collect data.  This collected data from the solar wind includes speed, density, temperature, pressure and the flux of the solar wind.  Also onboard the Voyager 2, are three special instruments, which provide data that is consistent with the P.L.S.’s data.  The special instruments are the cosmic ray subsystem, the low energy charged particle instrument and the magnetometer.  On November 5th, 2018, the P.L.S. measured a steep decline in solar wind data.  Since the previously noted date, to be exact, the P.L.S. stopped detecting a solar wind.  Therefore, it is safe to say that, the Voyager 2 Spacecraft has left the heliosphere.  However, it doesn’t mean that, it has left the solar system.  Before the end of the solar system, is an outer edge named, the Oort Cloud.  The Oort Cloud, is a collection of small objects that are still under the influence, of the sun’s gravity.  It is believed that, in order to reach the interior of the Oort Cloud, the Voyager 2 Spacecraft will have to travel for 300 more years.  Additionally; it is estimated that, it will take the Voyager 2, 30,000 more years to leave the Oort Cloud.

            John Richardson is the Principal Investigator of the P.L.S. instrument.  Additionally, he is also a Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.  Through a press statement, Mr. Richardson said the following.  “Working on Voyager makes me feel like an explorer, because everything we’re seeing is new.  Even though Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in 2012, it did so at a different place and a different time, and without the PLS data.  So we’re still seeing things that no one has seen before.”  Nicola Fox is the Director of the Heliophysics Division at N.A.S.A. Headquarters.  Through a press statement, Ms./Mrs. Fox said the following.  “Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet.  Our studies start at the Sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches.  To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun’s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory.”  Suzanne Dodd is the Voyager Project Manager at N.A.S.A.’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (J.P.L.).  Through a press statement, Ms./Mrs. Dodd said the following.  “I think we’re all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both operated long enough to make it past this milestone.  This is what we’ve all been waiting for.  Now we’re looking forward to what we’ll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause.”   

            To end and in the year 1977; the Voyager 1, and, Voyager 2 Spacecrafts were launched.  The Voyager 1, incidentally, was actually launched second.  The launch date is September 5th, 1977.  The Voyager 2, fascinatingly was launched first.  The launch date is August 20th, 1977.  Both spacecrafts went up to space, on a Titan IIIE/Centaur Rocket.  Originally; the spacecrafts were built to last five years, and, for a specific mission to flyby the Planet Jupiter, and, the Planet Saturn.  However; the mission was extended to include a flyby of the Planet Uranus, and, the Planet Neptune.  The Voyager Spacecrafts are powered by heat, which is radiated from decaying radioactive material.  The latter, is inside a device called, radioisotope thermal generator (R.T.G.).  The electrical power of the R.T.G. diminishes by four watts, every year.  Outstandingly; the original two planet mission, and, five year lifespan has stretched out far beyond imagination.  The lifespan has become 41 years.  Additionally, both spacecrafts have left the heliosphere.  For the history books, the Voyager 2, is N.A.S.A.’s longest running mission.  As previously stated, N.A.S.A. revealed at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (A.G.U.) that, the Voyager 2 Spacecraft exited the heliosphere.  Additionally and lastly, the exit date is believed to be November 5th, 2018.  It appears as if; the mystique of the Voyager 1, and, Voyager 2 Spacecrafts will continue to grow.



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