The little spacecraft that could

voyager

NASA’S Voyager 1 has exited the solar system – ‘Boldly going where no probe has gone before’

Since the launch of the Voyager spacecraft in 1977, it has traveled over 11.7 billion miles from the launch pad. That is equivalent to traveling to the moon and back almost 25,000 times.

By today’s standards, the spacecraft’s technology is laughable: it carries an 8-track tape recorder and computers with one-240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was designed as a four-year mission to Saturn, and everything after that was gravy.

Thirty-six years after it rocketed away from Earth, the plutonium-powered spacecraft has escaped the sun’s influence and is now cruising 11 1/2 billion miles away in interstellar space, or the vast, cold emptiness between the stars, NASA said.

And just in case it encounters intelligent life out there, it is carrying a gold-plated, 1970s-era phonograph record with multicultural greetings from Earth, photos and songs, including Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” along with Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Louis Armstrong.

NASA celebrated by playing the “Star Trek” theme at a news conference in Washington.

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