NASA’s Voyagers Continue On

NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 and have been on their cosmic treks for 40 years now. They have documented their journey past the giant planets of the outer solar system and are now on their way to the very edge of our sun’s domain, now more than 10 billion miles from the sun.

So where does the Voyagers’ story go from here? Both probes will continue their outward trajectory after escaping the gravitational pull of the sun traveling through vast distances of empty space. Based on predictions by astronomers each will pass by some well known cosmic landmarks on their journey.

Voyager 2 made important discoveries during it’s tours of Jupiter and Saturn and provided some of the best views yet of Uranus and Neptune. The probe, now traveling at approximately 34,500 miles per hour, is headed celestially south towards the constellation Sagittarius towards interstellar space. However, Voyager 2 won’t actually near another star until 40,000 years from now.

Voyager 1 launched second and captured images of Jupiter and Saturn and a stunning capture of our solar system retreating from it’s view. Now traveling 35,000 miles per hour the probe is the fastest human made object in space. It is headed in the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus and was the first spacecraft to cross into interstellar space.

Both spacecraft will continue their journeys onward, perhaps long after our sun dies in four or five billion years. If they are ever intercepted by an alien civilization two records preserve the sights and sounds of planet Earth whether or not it still lives on.