To infinity and beyond! NASA's Voyager bids solar system adieu

The spacecraft, launched 36 years ago, has become the first human-made object to exit our solar system.

Voyager 1
Voyager is now about 12 billion miles from our sun. NASA

It might surprise you, given how deep mankind's exploration into space has been over the years, to learn that when NASA's Voyager spacecraft exited our solar system on Friday, it became the first man-made object ever to do so.

NASA tweeted the news earlier today, touting Voyager's achievement of venturing "into interstellar space."

Launched in 1977, Voyager is now about 12 billion miles from our sun, NASA said. The data it has sent back shows that the spacecraft has been making its way through plasma, or ionized gas, that is found in between stars for about a year. That gas "was ejected by the death of nearby giant stars millions of years ago," NASA wrote.

Originally, Voyager 1 and 2 were launched to explore Jupiter and Saturn. But after discoveries, including finding active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon and intricacies of Saturn's rings, the Voyager mission was extended, NASA said.

Featured Video

iPad Pro after one week: Can it replace your laptop?

CNET Senior Editor Andrew Hoyle has been using Apple's gigantic tablet as his main computer for a week. Luke Westaway asks how it stacks up.

by Luke Westaway