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But scientists don't believe it has truly entered interstellar space yet

Scientists believe that NASA's Voyager 1 has entered an entirely new realm on the edge of the solar system. 

A new study conducted by researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces -- and led by astronomy Professor Bill Webber -- suggests that Voyager 1 exited the heliosphere on the edge of the solar system last year.

These findings are based on the fact that levels of anomalous cosmic rays (which are in the heliosphere) dropped to 1 percent from previous levels while levels of galactic cosmic rays (which are outside the solar system) increased to twice their previous levels during late August 2012. This was the highest these levels have ever been. 

"Within just a few days, the heliospheric intensity of trapped radiation decreased, and the cosmic ray intensity went up as you would expect if it exited the heliosphere," said Webber. "It's outside the normal heliosphere, I would say that. We're in a new region. And everything we're measuring is different and exciting."

The study will be published in Geophysical Research Letters

The Voyager 1 is a NASA space probe that was launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system.

Last August, t
he Voyager 1 caught the fastest rate of change in two of three signs of changes expected to occur while studying a bubble of charged particles (which surround the sun). 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. 

In December 2012, Voyager 1 reached what scientists call
the magnetic highwayThis highway consists of charged particles where the sun's magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines.

NASA's Voyager 2 mission, which is also supposed 
to study the outer solar system and eventually interstellar space, turned 35 years old last August. The Voyager 2 mission is actually older than Voyager 1 by about 16 days. 

Source: NBC News

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Amazing and disappointing at the same time
By btmm on 3/21/2013 10:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
It's amazing to me that human kind has been able to send a probe into inter-stellar space. What a fantastic achievement!

At the same time, the fact that the achievement is so limited disappoints me. I am 40 years old and I know that I will never live to see inter-planetary travel, never mind inter-stellar travel.

Future generations will no doubt look back at this as a first tiny step. I'm sure our technology will seem as crude and rudimentary to them as the technology of the 1800s seems to us today.

Let's hope that achievements like this spurs on governments to properly fund space exploration!

By spamreader1 on 3/21/2013 11:08:40 AM , Rating: 2
Pessimist. I hold out hope that a novel engine technology is possible in the next 40-60 years before I die.

RE: Amazing and disappointing at the same time
By Ammohunt on 3/21/13, Rating: 0
RE: Amazing and disappointing at the same time
By drycrust3 on 3/21/13, Rating: -1
By tng on 3/22/2013 9:23:31 AM , Rating: 1
in the event of some sort of technological catastrophe
More likely it will be some kind of natural catastrophe, solar flare, meteor, Yellowstone...

By JediJeb on 3/26/2013 4:07:02 PM , Rating: 1
I think it would depend on the strength of the EMP as to whether or not systems that were powered down at the time would be affected. An older vehicle that was not running would most likely still be able to operate. Alternators are not as fragile as engine computers, so cars without engine computers would be operable. Would be something for all those classic car club members to be the only ones still driving around. The diesel tractors on my parent's farm would still be running since the only electronic part on them is the alternator, as well as the gasoline tractors(made in 1952 and still working strong).

Get outside the big cities and even now you will find small stores and such that are cash only, many do not even have the ability to process credit cards. Matter of fact one of the best places around here to eat lunch is like that and they stay covered up with business.

Rural life wouldn't change that much, it would be for us like living a few days after a major storm with the power out. I definitely would not want to be living in a large city at that time though, that thought is rather scarey.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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