NASA confirmed on Thursday that Voyager 1 has finally reached interstellar space, the cold, dark region between solar systems.
Voyager 1, launched by NASA in 1977, crossed into interstellar space on or about Aug. 25 2012, according to researchers who published their findings in the journal Science.
At 12 billion miles from our sun, Voyager 1 is the first man-made object to venture into interstellar space.
Scientists know this because the plasma, or ionized gas, in interstellar space has higher density than solar plasma. The spacecraft has been travelling through this high-density interstellar plasma for about one year, according to NASA.
In an artist’s concept that shows the spacecraft entering interstellar space, the interstellar plasma is shown with an orange glow.
“We’re in a truly alien environment,” Gary Zank, director of the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research at University of Alabama said in press conference. “The material we’re in is not from the sun.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.