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Voyager mission artwork depicting the Voyager spacecraft's trajectory...made in 1977.
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Courtesy of NASA

Voyager to Take the Lead!
News story originally written on February 16, 1998

At approximately 5:10 p.m. EST on February 17, 1998, the Voyager 1 spacecraft will become the spacecraft that has traveled farthest away from the planet Earth. For 25 years, Pioneer 10 has been in the lead in this race. It's not that the Voyager will overtake the Pioneer in a neck-and-neck race. The Pioneer spacecraft is headed in the opposite direction from the Sun.

When Voyager 1 becomes the most distant man-made object in space, it will be 6.5 billion kilometers from the Earth. At this distance the Sun shines 1/5,000th as bright as it does here on Earth.

Voyager 1 is still exploring the outer solar system. The spacecraft passed Pluto and is still traveling outward. Scientists are hoping that the spacecraft will reach the heliopause, where the Sun's influence stops. This would truly be where no spacecraft has gone before!

The Voyager spacecraft is expected to near the heliopause by 2002.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA