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Voyager chasing solar system's edge

On 35th anniversary of spacecraft’s launch, scientists ponder when it will move beyond the sun’s reach

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6:25pm, September 5, 2012

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched 35 years ago on September 5, 1977, is bracing for a controlled plunge into interstellar space. Soon the craft will leave the solar system behind, bursting through the windy bubble blown by sun.

The question is: How soon? That boundary may be a bit farther away than expected, a team from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory reports in the Sept. 6 Nature.

Now 18 billion kilometers away, Voyager 1 is the most distant spacecraft flung from Earth. Voyager 2, launched two weeks earlier, is trailing its twin by about 3.4 billion kilometers.

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