In September 1977 NASA launched a spacecraft “Voyager 1” into space. The objective was to take advantage of a special alignment of the outer planets in our solar system and beyond. Voyager 1 was launched along with Voyager 2 in 1977 with a few days gap. Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space.
The spacecraft officially entered interstellar space in August 2012, almost after 35 years of its launch. However, this discovery was made public later, in 2013. As of today, Voyager 1 is about 13.69 billion miles (22 billion km) away from Earth. It is the most distant human object in space.
NASA is in continues contact with the spacecraft. The probe’s communication system includes a 3.7 meter diameter parabolic dish high gain antenna to send and receive radio waves. First, the probe collect data of its surroundings and send it back to earth through radio signals. This information is received through NASA’s DSN (Deep Space Network). It takes about 22 hours to receive data from the spacecraft.
In 1990, Scientists turned off the spacecraft’s cameras to save power supply after Voyager 1 sent the famous “Pale Blue Dot” image of Earth. However, this communication will soon come to an end when probe’s power will die and it will stop transmitting data by about 2025. Until then, the probe will continue to report on magnetic fields & charged particles.