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Greetings from 55 Earthlings on Voyager record

A gold record containing greetings in 55 earth languages was placed on Voyager 1, back in 1977 when it left earth. The record contains friendly, peaceful greetings from Earth, should the aircraft interact with other interstellar space dwelling creatures.

Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager, holds the gold plated record. Credit: NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

Voyager has now become the first man-made open to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space.

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Radio signals told NASA Voyager left solar system

NASA discovered that Voyager 1 had left our solar system and entered interstellar space, or "the space between the stars" by analysing the radio wave transmissions from the aircraft.

An instrument on board is capable of measuring the density of the ions outside the aircraft and in March 2012 there was a massive erruption of the sun, which eventually reached Voyager causing the ions to vibrate in a particular tone.

By measuring the soundwaves, NASA scientists could measure the density of the soundwaves, which is how they discovered the aircraft had left the solar system.

What is interstellar space?

Interstellar, or deep space, is described by NASA as "the space between the stars." It is dominated by plasma, or ionized gas that was ejected by the death of nearby giant stars, millions of year ago. NASA defines interstellar space as:

The space between the stars, comprised of dust, gas and plasma, which is ionized gas.

Interstellar space lies outside of the three zones of our solar system:

  • Heliosphere, known as the solar bubble, which is the bubble of plasmas that the sun blows around itself. Beyond the heliosphere are the Oort Cloud, a theoretical band of material containing icy bodies at the edge of our solar system from which long-period comets emerge
  • Heliosheath, the turbulent outer layer of the heliosphere
  • Heliopause, the final boundary that divides the heliosphere and the interstellar space

Voyager 1 makes 'historic leap' to leave solar system

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has become the first man-made object to leave the solar system.

Scientists now believe the Voyager 1 left the solar system in August 2012, but unexpected data has only just confirmed the news.

NASA described the moment as "mankind's historic leap into interstellar space".

Chance measurement settles Voyager debate

Scientists who have been debating for more than a year as to whether NASA's 36-year-old Voyager 1 has left the solar system finally have confirmation that the spacecraft has reached interstellar space.

The definitive piece of evidence came by a fluke measurement when a pair of solar flares blasted charged particles in Voyager's direction in 2011 and 2012.

An undated artist's concept shows NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft. Credit: Reuters/NASA

It took a year for the particles to reach the spacecraft, providing information that could be used to determine how dense the plasma was in Voyager's location.

Scientists now believe the Voyager 1 left the solar system in August 2012.

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NASA's Voyager 1 enters interstellar space

The artist's concept shows the Voyager 1 spacecraft entering the space between stars. Credit: NASA

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft became the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space today.

Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is the longest continuing space aircraft ever built.

It is an estimated 9.5 billion miles away from the sun.

Voyager project scientist, Ed Stone, said the move represented "mankind's historic leap into interstellar space".