These Two Spacecraft Are on 40,000-Year Mission to Nearby Stars

By Zack Stieber

NASA’s Voyager Interstellar Mission involves two spacecraft journeying to nearby stars.

Voyager 1, one of the spacecraft, entered interstellar space in 2012, becoming the first human-made object to explore the territory. It was about 11 billion miles from the sun at the time.

“This kind of interstellar exploration is the ultimate goal of the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Voyager 2, which is traveling in a different direction from Voyager 1, has not yet crossed the heliopause into interstellar space,” NASA noted.

The Voyager 1 and Voyager are expected to stay in operation until at least 2020, taking measurements, pictures, and providing other scientific data.

“By that time, Voyager 1 will be about 13.8 billion miles (22.1 billion kilometers) from the Sun and Voyager 2 will be 11.4 billion miles (18.4 billion kilometers) away. Eventually, the Voyagers will pass other stars. In about 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light-years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis which is heading toward the constellation Ophiuchus,” NASA said.

“In about 40,000 years, Voyager 2 will pass 1.7 light-years (9.7 trillion miles) from the star Ross 248 and in about 296,000 years, it will pass 4.3 light-years (25 trillion miles) from Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. The Voyagers are destined—perhaps eternally—to wander the Milky Way.”

Video Credit: GeoBeats

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