NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has left the protective bubble around the Sun and is flying through interstellar space, becoming the second human-made object to travel so far, the US space agency says.
The announcement came six years after its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, broke the outer boundary of the heliopause, where the hot solar wind meets the cold, dense space between stars, known as the interstellar medium.
Voyager 2 is now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth, having passed the boundary on November 5.
“This time is even better for us,” said Nicky Fox, director of the heliophysics division at NASA, noting that one instrument, called the Plasma Science Experiment (PLS), is still functioning on Voyager 2.
“To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun’s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory.”
The same instrument on Voyager 1 stopped working in 1980.