Voyager 1, launched this month 36 years ago, has, according to scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, officially entered interstellar space. Me? I just officially entered a wet t-shirt contest, although I'm starting to second-guess my chances of winning considering most of the other girls are, how do I put this -- not men with tits. Anyway, Voyager 1. "Haha -- later suckers!" I imagine it looking back to say to earth before getting smashed by a stray meteor. Life isn't fair, not even for space probes. SCIIIIIIIEENCE!:
The scale bar is in astronomical units, with each set distance beyond 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. One AU is the distance from the sun to the Earth, which is about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers. Neptune, the most distant planet from the sun, is about 30 AU.
Informally, the term "solar system" is often used to mean the space out to the last planet. Scientific consensus, however, says the solar system goes out to the Oort Cloud, the source of the comets that swing by our sun on long time scales. Beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, the gravity of other stars begins to dominate that of the sun.
The inner edge of the main part of the Oort Cloud could be as close as 1,000 AU from our sun. The outer edge is estimated to be around 100,000 AU.
NASA's Voyager 1, humankind's most distant spacecraft, is around 125 AU. Scientists believe it entered interstellar space, or the space between stars, on Aug. 25, 2012. Much of interstellar space is actually inside our solar system. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 1 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly about 30,000 years to fly beyond it.
You know, sometimes I wish I was the furthest man-made object that's ever been launched into space. But nooooooo, I'm stuck here on earth. Also: stuck to the bedsheets. PROTIP: if you and your partner ever want to play with sexy food in bed but only have jelly go to the f***ing grocery store and save it for tomorrow night.
Thanks to my buddy Ferrous, who's more iron than Iron Man. \oo/