Next time you are struggling on the motorway and the children are asking ‘are we nearly there yet?’ spare a thought for the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft:
Voyager 1: in 2012 the first human made object to leave our solar system and cross the heliopause – the outer edge of our Sun’s protective field of influence known as the heliosphere. Speed of travel: circa 61,000 mph
Voyager 2: the second to leave our solar system in 2018 (as it is on a slower trajectory). Speed of travel: circa 34,000 mph
Power of radio transmitter on each craft: 20 watts
Time to next star (after our sun) for Voyager 1: circa 40,000 years (no warp drive then – Scotty we need you).
NB: The spacecraft still phones home. It takes the radio signal about 19 hrs to reach us – at the speed light. Remind the children to call!