FINAL FRONTIER

Voyager 1 Leaves Solar System

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's concept shows the general locations of NASA's two Voyager spacecraft. Voyager 1 (top) has sailed beyond our solar bubble into interstellar space, the space between stars. Its environment still feels the solar influence. Voyager 2 (bottom) is still exploring the outer layer of the solar bubble.

After several false alarms, nerds can finally get excited: Voyager I has left the solar system—a first for any made-made object. NASA confirmed today that the probe’s 36-years of travel led it to interstellar space sometime around August 25, 2012. The scientific community has been in disagreement over whether the Voyager 1 had actually left the heliosphere, the boundary that separates the energetic particles that surround our sun and planets from the galactic unknown. Despite NASA’s announcement, some researchers are still skeptical. “It’s a big surprise, and it's another mystery,” said one scientist. “This is not what our models were telling us ... we don’t understand.”