The most distant human-made object in the universe is expected to continue traveling via electrical power for another 15 years.
2 min read
Voyager 1's journey nears 28 years
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars. Long-life nuclear batteries are expected to provide electrical power until at least 2020 when Voyager 1 will be more than 13 billion miles from Earth and may have reached interstellar space.
Voyager 1 is tracked about 12 hours daily by the Deep Space Network of global tracking stations like this one, the Goldstone site in California's Mojave Desert. As of Jan. 5, 2004, a command signal sent from one of the antennas, traveling at the speed of light, took about 12 hours and 39 minutes to reach Voyager 1. There are only three antennas powerful enough to reach the probe.
This is a Voyager 1 photo of Saturn and moons Tethys and Dione. It was taken Nov. 3, 1980. Voyager 1 was deflected northward above the plane of the planets' orbits when it swung by Saturn in 1980 and is now speeding outward from the Sun at nearly 1 million miles per day, a rate that would take it from Los Angeles to New York in less than four minutes.
This Voyager 1 photo from Nov. 12, 1980, shows Saturn moon Titan with thick haze, indicating a heavy atmosphere. Photos from the Voyagers were an inspiration for the Huygens probe which successfully landed on Titan last year.