According to a press release from the American Geophysical Union, the Voyager 1 space probe has passed beyond the heliosphere of our solar system. The discovery is being published as a scientific paper, but curiously NASA seems reluctant to agree with its conclusions.
The heliosphere is the bubble of space where our sun holds its own against the strange things found in deep space, and it’s incredibly vast. Its boundary has turned out to be farther out than our earlier models had predicted, and this has many implications for our understanding of how stars and solar systems across the universe may work.
But what this news actually means, beyond some fascinating science that will keep physicists busy for years, is that a man-made object crafted on Earth over 30 years ago has passed beyond the final boundary of everything we call home and begun a journey into deep, cold, endless interstellar space. It’s a philosophical point that should inspire and astound you, particularly when you remember that the space probe is 11 billion miles from us, and we’re still in touch with it by radio and will be for several years yet.
This is exactly the sort of news that could inspire kids to learn more about science and comes just as NASA is developing its next generation of giant rockets and the commercial space race is taking off and making history on its own.