Scientists are already seeing a change in the neighborhood.
Voyager 1 was launched in 1977. After exploring the outer planets, it was pointed toward deep space and a new mission. Today scientists announced it's going to get there a lot sooner than expected.
"We are clearly in a new region where things are changing more quickly," says Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology. "It is very exciting. We are approaching the solar system's frontier."
Fifty-five years after humans first escaped the bounds of Earth and launched a satellite into orbit, we are about to cross another frontier.
We will soon extend our reach for the first time into true outer space – the vast emptiness beyond the protection of the sun.
Our emissary is a small, aging spaceship carrying a friendly message from President Jimmy Carter along with recordings of a baby crying and a whale singing, just in case anyone is out there to receive them.
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