Has Voyager left the solar system?
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NASA’s intrepid Voyager 1 space probe has reached a strange, uncharted region at the farthest edges of our solar system, according to three research papers published this week in the journal Science. Although there were signs this past summer that Voyager had entered interstellar space, the new research indicates that the spacecraft has entered a mysterious in-between place where solar particles and deep space particles intermingle. According to researchers, the new region may form a section between the solar system and interstellar space.
Launched by NASA in 1977, Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the sun and may soon be the first human artifact to enter interstellar space. Last August, the space probe transmitted data showing a dramatic reduction in solar particles and a simultaneous increase in high-energy cosmic rays emanating from outer space, indicating that Voyager had probably left the solar system. Other measurements, however, were at odds with that conclusion.