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Voyager 1  (Source: trbimg.com)
NASA scientists say Voyager 1 could enter interstellar space anywhere from months to a couple of years from now

NASA's Voyager 1 is traveling through the last leg of its journey before entering interstellar space.

Voyager 1, which was launched into space in 1977 to eventually explore interstellar space and become the most distant human-made object, has reached a region that NASA scientists are calling a magnetic highway. This highway consists of charged particles where the sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines.

This area is still considered part of our heliosphere, which is a bubble of charged particles around the sun, because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these lines will change when Voyager 1 enters interstellar space, and scientists believe the magnetic highway is the last stretch before finally making it to interstellar space. 

"Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager." 

NASA scientists say Voyager 1 could enter interstellar space anywhere from months to a couple of years from now. 

In July of this year, Voyager 1 received another clue that it was nearing interstellar space. In studying the bubble of charged particles, it caught the fastest rate of change in two of three signs of changes expected to occur at this particular area. The three signs of changes are the rate in which levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles increase, the rate in which lower-energy particles decrease, and the direction of the magnetic field. 

On July 28, levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles originating from outside our solar system increased by 5 percent. In the last half of that same day, lower-energy particles originating from inside our solar system decreased by half. Three days later, all levels returned to normal. This was the fastest rate of change observed so far. 

Source: NASA



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RE: Energy not running out?
By creathir on 12/5/2012 9:27:52 AM , Rating: 3
It gets its power from radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Essentially, a very small nuclear power plant. It should last around 80-90 years. If only our tablets had these... Of course the new 3rd arm would not be so much fun... Or would it?


RE: Energy not running out?
By Camikazi on 12/5/2012 9:35:24 AM , Rating: 3
Hey, don't knock a 90 year tablet battery AND a new 3rd arm, that is an awesome 2 for one as long as the arm is fully usable.


RE: Energy not running out?
By seraphim1982 on 12/5/2012 10:28:46 AM , Rating: 4
My 3rd arm is big and my girlfriends loves it...


RE: Energy not running out?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/5/2012 11:51:39 AM , Rating: 3
Well. She lets you think that. ;)

/joke


RE: Energy not running out?
By eldakka on 12/5/2012 7:44:03 PM , Rating: 3
Why are women so bad at measuring distances?

Cause guys are always telling them that 'that' (holds fingers |---------------| far apart) is 6 inches....


RE: Energy not running out?
By Sahrin on 12/5/2012 10:25:01 AM , Rating: 4
Nuclear power is evil and dangerous, and has no serious benefits over solar power. Nuclear power is unsafe at any speed, and we should never have even discovered it. Once, a nuclear power killed my dad.


RE: Energy not running out?
By Ammohunt on 12/5/2012 2:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
We need to talk..are you on nuclear power? have you been taking the nuclear power?


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