Voyager 2 sends back first messages from interstellar travel

Research papers published Monday detail findings by scientists from spacecraft Voyager 2's trip to interstellar space.

The results from the mission detailed a "cosmic shoreline" where the sun's environment ends and interstellar space, or space that is between stars, begins, according to USA Today

"The Voyager probes are showing us how our sun interacts with the stuff that fills most of the space between stars in the Milky Way galaxy," Voyager project scientist Ed Stone told the newspaper. 


The research, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, reportedly shows that the spacecraft has left the sun's bubble of magnetic fields and particles. It is beyond Pluto's orbit. 

"In a historical sense, the old idea that the solar wind will just be gradually whittled away as you go further into interstellar space is simply not true," Don Gurnett, corresponding author on one of the studies, told USA Today. "We show with Voyager 2 – and previously with Voyager 1 – that there's a distinct boundary out there."

Voyager 2 is reportedly the second spacecraft to venture so far into the solar system. It has been in space since 1977. 

“We certainly didn’t know that a spacecraft could live long enough to leave the bubble and enter interstellar space,” Stone said at a press conference, according to USA Today. “We had no good quantitative idea of how big this bubble is."