Quote of the Day

"This is the moment we've all been waiting for. I can't even sleep it's so exciting!"—Jia-Rui C. Cook, the media liaison at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, upon confirmation that the Voyager I probe has "become the first [human]-made object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasize about back when it was launched in 1977, the same year that Star Wars was released."
The lonely probe, which is 11.7 billion miles from Earth and hurtling away at 38,000 miles per hour, has long been on the verge of bursting through the heliosphere, a vast, bullet-shaped bubble of particles blown out by the sun. Scientists have spent this year debating whether it had done so, interpreting the data Voyager sent back in different ways.

But now it is official that Voyager 1 passed into the cool, dark and unknown vastness of interstellar space, a place full of dust, plasma and other matter from exploded stars. The article in Science pinpointed a date: Aug. 25, 2012.

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