The Voyager 1 spacecraft has just drifted beyond the reach of our solar system, according to a paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal on March 20. It will be the first man-made object to travel so far from home.
According to researcher Bill Webber, Voyager 1 passed through what is known as the “heliocliff” on August 25 last year, citing the detection of a dramatic fall in radiation emitted from the sun. Beyond the influence of the sun, Voyager-1 continues its voyage onward.
Speculation remains as to whether the Voyager 1 probe has arrived in interstellar space or an undefined region beyond the solar system. Upon its arrival on the edge, a change in the direction of the sun’s magnetic field should be observed as it is acted on by interstellar magnetic fields. This has not happened, leading some to speculate that the probe is now in a no-man’s-land between Earth and the vast emptiness that divides our solar system from the next one.
Voyager 1 has had a long journey. Launched in September 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Voyager 1 was sent to observe the outer planets and the interstellar region beyond the solar system. Following the completion of the first part of its journey, it set off for the far reaches of space and was followed by its counterpart Voyager 2.
The fact that the two probes are still traveling is a marvel in itself. They run off of basic 1970s equipment. Each one has 68 kilobytes of computer memory. An average iPod today has over 240,000 times that much memory. However, those 68K are still doing the job. Radio waves are still being bounced back across the solar system. It takes these waves 16 hours to traverse the distance between man and machine.
So far, Voyager 1 has traversed across 18 billion kilometers of space. It is powered by a plutonium power source which is set to stop generating electricity in 10 to 15 years. At that point, the probe will go silent and drift on through the darkness alone.
It is incredible to see what man has been able to achieve. He has sent out technology that broadcasts information back across the universe. Voyager 1 is a fantastic piece of technology. But it also raises a larger question.
Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages, “Why do we find a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically with appalling and mounting evils? Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness?”
Though mankind has made amazing advancements across the fields of technology, we have yet to bring about world peace. War ravages the planet, millions live in poverty, and millions more go without basic education or a reasonable standard of living. Man finds it easier to peer over the precipice of the solar system than to solve the crisis that faces him on Earth.
But this world is not without hope. The galaxies that Voyager 1 is slowly drifting towards are directly connected to the future of mankind. Man has a potential that exists among the stars. In all reality, mankind will reach those distant solar systems before Voyager 1 ever will! It will be over 40,000 years before that probe will come even close to another star.
Read Our Awesome Universe Potential to see what God has in store for those who will heed his message. The Voyager 1 trip to the edge of the solar system doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. ▪