NASA Voyager 2 Beams Back Message From Interstellar Space

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NASA Voyager 2 is the longest-running space mission that has crossed more than 40 years since its launch. The Voyager 2 is 12 billion miles away from the Earth, tapping near the edge of the Sun's boundary where the interstellar space begins. Now, it has sent a faint signal back to the Earth base and scientists are decoding it.

NASA Voyager 2 Beams Back Message From Interstellar Space

 

NASA Voyager 2

The Voyager 2 has sent back images of what the scientists believe to be the edge of our Solar System, near the heliosphere. However, NASA scientists have no idea that it would survive to see this landmark. "We certainly didn't know that the spacecraft could live long enough to reach the edge of the bubble and enter interstellar space," said Prof Ed Stone, of the California Institute of Technology.

NASA Voyager 2 spacecraft is the second spaceship to travel beyond the heliosphere, the area charged with particles streaming out of the Sun. Followed by the Voyager 1, this spacecraft has crossed the threshold of the interstellar space across the Solar System to beam back close-up images of the planets Uranus and Neptune.

NASA Voyager 2 Beams Back Images

NASA Voyager 2 Beams Back Message From Interstellar Space

To understand the image sent by the Voyager 2, it's necessary to know what the heliosphere is. It could be understood in a comparison with a cosmic weather front with a distinct boundary of charged particles rushing outwards from the sun. These solar particles are met with cooler winds from the interstellar space that have exploded millions of years ago.

 

NASA Voyager 2 has given scientists a new understanding of the limits of the heliosphere. Some of the papers published in Nature Astronomy highlight that the Voyager 2 has encountered a much sharper, thinner heliosphere boundary than Voyager 1. Moreover, the Voyager 2 spacecraft tells us about the thickness of the heliosheath, the external region of the heliosphere.

The data sent by the Voyager 2 after so many years raises the debate about the overall shape of the heliosphere. Some scientists had predicted it to be spherical and others more like a long tail floating behind the Solar System. However, now we learn that the shape depends on the magnetic fields inside and outside the heliosphere, which is now believed to be more spherical.

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