Technology NASA says Voyager 2 may be nearing interstellar space

22:25  06 october  2018
22:25  06 october  2018 Source:   cnet.com

New Horizons probe may have detected Solar System's hydrogen 'wall'

  New Horizons probe may have detected Solar System's hydrogen 'wall' Scientists have learned a bit about the edge of the Solar System from Voyager 1, but there hasn't been a lot of corroborating data without follow-up spacecraft. They appear to be getting a second chance, though. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has detected what appears to be a "wall" at the edge of the Solar System where interstellar hydrogen gathers as it collides with the solar wind -- in other words, the very edge of the Sun's influence.

a satellite in space: voyager1artistsconcept© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. voyager1artistsconcept

NASA'sVoyager 2 spacecraft launched way back in 1977 when bell bottoms and disco were in style. All these decades later, the probe appears to be nearing a massive milestone: an entry into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 has been traveling through the heliosheath, the outermost layer of the heliosphere, for over a decade. NASA describes the heliosphere as a "vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields."

The probe is currently just under 11 billion miles (about 17.7 billion kilometers) from Earth.

NASA announced on Friday that data from Voyager 2 shows an increase in the rate of cosmic rays from outside our solar system hitting the probe. The agency's Voyager 1 spacecraft had a similar experience in 2012 shortly before leaving the solar system.

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Voyager 1 is currently the only human-made object to enter interstellar space. NASA scientists aren't sure when Voyager 2 will join its twin by crossing the heliosphere boundary, an area known as the heliopause.

"We're going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don't know when we'll reach the heliopause. We're not there yet -- that's one thing I can say with confidence," says Voyager project scientist Ed Stone.

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to visit Uranus and Neptune. Its adventures in the outer solar system led to the discovery of new moons around the gas giant planets. Despite the age of the probe, NASA hopes to continue to collect data from it until at least 2025.

a star in space: nasavoyagersillustration© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. nasavoyagersillustration

Space station gets 2 cargo deliveries in record 15 hours.
The International Space Station has received two cargo deliveries in a record 15 hours.A U.S. commercial shipment arrived Monday, two days after blasting off from Virginia. NASA Astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor used the space station's robot arm to grab Northrop Grumman's capsule. It's named after Apollo 16 moonwalker and the first space shuttle commander John Young, who died in January. The station's German commander, Alexander Gerst, tweeted, "Welcome aboard, S.S. John Young!" Ice cream and other fresh food are the first things coming out. On Sunday, a Russian supply ship brought a full load.

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