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NASA's Voyager 2 Probe May Soon Enter Interstellar Space

NASA's Voyager 2 probe has detected an increase in cosmic rays originating outside this solar system.

Launched in 1977, the space probe is less than 11 billion miles from Earth-more than 118 times the distance from our globe to the Sun.

Since 2007, it's been traveling through the outermost layer of the heliosphere-the vast bubble around the sun and planets, dominated by solar materials and magnetic fields.

Now, Voyager 2 appears to be reaching the outer boundary of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause. Once it exits the region, it will become the second human-made object, after its twin Voyager 1

, to enter interstellar space.

Researchers can best measure its progress through the study of cosmic rays-fast-moving particles that originate outside The Solar System.

Some are blocked by the heliosphere, so mission planners expect Voyager 2 will measure an increase in the rate of beams bouncing off the spacecraft as it approaches and crosses the boundary.

What is exactly what's been happening? for more than a month: The built-in Cosmic Ray Subsystem measured a 5 percent increase since early August. The probe's Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument, meanwhile, detected a similar increase in higher-energy cosmic rays.

"We are seeing a change in the environment around Voyager 2, there's no doubt about that," project scientist Ed Stone said in a statement. "We're going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still do not know when we'll reach the heliopause."

"We're not there yet-that's one thing I can say with confidence," Stone added.

In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays, must like what its sibling is now encountering.

Voyager 2, som er på en anden placering i heliosfæren enn Voyager 1, vil nå det samme. milestone any time soon. Possible differences in locations mean possible differences in exit timelines.

The six-year gap between each probe's departure is also relevant, according to NASA, because the heliopause moves during the Sun's 11-year activity cycle.

Earthlings can finally listen to the Voyager Golden Record-for $ 98. NASA, meanwhile, is busy searching for exoplanets and exomoons. (F, b, e, v, n, t, s) {if (f.fbq) return; n = f.fbq = function () {n. call method?
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