Historic! NASA Voyager 1 completes 10 years in interstellar Space; Can it still find alien life?

Voyager 1 has now spent ten years in interstellar space, marking a unique milestone for humanity. As it enters “pristine” interstellar space, can it find alien life? Find out.

| Updated on: Aug 27 2022, 12:28 IST
Black Holes In Pics: Some fun facts about them from NASA
NASA Voyager 1
1/5 Did you know there are two kinds of black holes? Yes, you read that right! According to NASA, black holes can be differentiated into two depending on their mass. The first is a Stellar Black Hole which is formed from a single star. It can be three times the size of our Sun. The other is a Supermassive Black Hole which forms due to merging of other black holes. It is a massive black hole which resides in the center of galaxies and is capable of engulfing other stars. (NASA)
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2/5 How many black holes are there? Well, according to NASA, there are hundreds of black holes in space. However, scientists assume that black holes are present in thousands. (NASA)
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3/5 Any matter that is consumed by black holes is eventually crushed into one single point, which is called Singularity. According to NASA, a singularity, located at the center of the black hole, is vanishingly small, yet has an infinite density. (NASA)
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4/5 Is there a supermassive black hole in our galaxy? Yes, there is! Located nearly 26,000 light years away at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole which could potentially one day swallow the whole Milky Way Galaxy. (NASA)
NASA Voyager 1
5/5 Can our Sun become a black hole? The answer is no. According to NASA, a black hole forms from a star that is nearly 15 to 20 times the size of our Sun. So, you need not worry about being swallowed by our own Sun. So, when our Sun eventually runs out of fuel, it will become a white dwarf and expand in size, turning into a red giant. (Pixabay)
NASA Voyager 1
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Voyager 1 has now spent 10 years in outer space, also known as interstellar space. Will it encounter alien life? (NASA)

No matter how many spacecraft with advanced technology NASA makes these days, its most durable spacecraft came in the 1970s. It was the Voyager 1 which launched in 1977 along with Voyager 2 to explore Jupiter and Saturn. But now, 45 years later, not only is Voyager 1 still going strong, it has also marked a unique achievement by spending 10 years in interstellar space. For the unaware, interstellar space is the region beyond the solar system where the Sun's magnetic fields stop. This is where outer space truly begins and the possibilities open up. A very obvious question is whether Voyager 1 can find alien life now. Read on to find out.

Voyager 1 reaches a huge milestone by completing 10 years in interstellar space

It is interesting to look back and realize that Voyager 1 was never meant to go on for so long. The spacecraft was only supposed to take a closer look at Jupiter and Saturn. As returning to Earth would not be possible due to lack of fuel, the original plan was to shut down the machine and let it float around till eternity.

“Nobody ever expected the Voyagers to leave the interstellar medium. They had a five-year lifetime that was extended for another five years, then 10 years, but nobody really thought that they would be leaving the solar system,” Merav Opher, an astronomer at Boston University, told Space.com.

To collect data from the spacecraft and not put a burden on its batteries, the NASA scientists turned off every system except one instrument that measures magnetic fields which is turned on for a couple of days every few years. And observing the fluctuations is how researchers like Opher are developing an understanding of the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a bubble-like structure, made of magnetic fields of the Sun, that surrounds the solar system.

So, now that it has completed 10 years in interstellar space and entered outer space, what's next for NASA Voyager 1? According to Opher, finding alien life is not out of the question, but it is not a goal of the mission. It is to experience the world outside of our solar system and understand what it is all about. But being out there has helped scientists know that the possibility of an alien life is very complex.

“If we are going to try to find life on other planets then the only habitable astrosphere we have a handle on is our own. It was Voyager that revealed its complexity” said Opher.

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First Published Date: 27 Aug, 12:28 IST