The final piece of evidence that led scientists to conclude that the spacecraft had crossed the historic threshold arrived in the form of an other-worldly radio transmission recorded on Voyager's vintage 8-track tape recorder this spring.
"It's the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space," said
Scientists, including four working on the mission at the
"Needless to say, I, along with my colleagues, are delighted to be part of this historic mission," said
Proof of the feat was published Thursday in the journal Science, focusing on two very distinct vibrations that were picked up by Voyager's 30-foot whip antennas.
In what scientists described as a double-stroke of good luck, the antennas were able to convert the density of surrounding space plasma into audio signals -- along with the help of two immense and well-timed solar flares.
"We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw the data," said lead study author
Gurnett and his colleagues concluded that Voyager left the heliosphere -- the comet-shaped region of space dominated by our sun's gusting solar winds -- on or around
The edge of the heliosphere is informally considered the boundary of the solar system. But technically speaking,
Voyager 1 will not reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud for another 300 years, and it could take as long as 30,000 years to exit it, according to
Scientists have been vigorously debating Voyager's whereabouts since March, when it became clear that the probe was being bombarded by an increasing number of galactic cosmic rays while the number of high-energy particles emanating from the sun had plummeted.
Stone and other
After waiting for that change for more than a year, Stone conceded this week that Voyager has yet again proven scientists wrong.
"There is something going on there which is over and above and beyond what our models have been saying," said the 75-year-old Krimigis, who has served as a principal investigator on the mission since 1970. "We still have a lot to learn from Voyager."
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- TFA Recruiting DACA Recipients
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Scotch Whisky Sales Raise Distillers' Spirits
- Holiday Shopping Off to a Slow Start This Season
- Fake Deaf Interpreter Was Hallucinating, Has Schizophrenia
- Health Coverage Disparities Emerge Among States
- Podesta Likely to Reject Keystone XL
- Tea Party Glum in Face of Bipartisan Budget Deal