marks the limits that humans will be able to explore for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever.
In 2012, NASAs Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to ever cross the heliopause
and reach interstellar space.
Some solar wind protons that flow out from the sun to this boundary region will gain an electron, making them neutral and allowing them to cross the heliopause
This means that while Voyager 1 did cross the heliopause
in 2012, it is still traveling through this "muddied" magnetic field region and won't reach the "pristine" region of interstellar space until at least 2025.
We're in a race to see if we can get through the heliopause
and truly into interstellar space while the craft still have the electrical power to observe what's out there.
The new findings can be used to better understand how our space environment interacts with the interstellar environment beyond the heliopause
, said Eric Christian, IBEX program scientist at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in this study.
Scientists expected the spacecraft to eventually cross the heliopause
, the outer limit of the Sun's solar-wind bubble, or heliosphere.
Voyager i passed through the boundary between the heliosphere and interstellar space, called the heliopause
, last August.
The charged particle and plasma changes were what would have been expected during a crossing of the heliopause
Echoes From The Heliopause
is a dreamy tribute to the Voyager spacecraft, travelling through space for 36 years.
This tells us that Voyager 1 may be close to the heliopause
, or the boundary at which the interstellar medium basically stops the outflow of solar wind," Krimigis, principal investigator for Voyager's Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument, said.
It is hoped they will eventually escape the sun's influence entirely and enter the heliopause
where interstellar space begins.