Exploring the universe
BY wangxingwei from 21st Century
Published 2018-10-26
Voyager 2 will fly out of solar system, according to NASA. CFP

Traveling into space has been a lasting dream of mankind since ancient times. However, even by now, humans have only been to the moon. Earth and the moon are just small parts of our solar system, not to mention the vast Milky Way. Like our ancestors, we cannot help wondering what else there may be in our vast universe.

The Voyager probes might be able to give us the answer one day. According to NASA, Voyager 2 is getting close to the edge of our solar system.

Voyager 2 is now 17.7 billion kilometers away from Earth, according to Newsweek. It is now in the heliosphere, which marks the edge of our solar system.

If Voyager 2 continues traveling at a fixed speed of 15.4 kilometers per second, it will probably leave our solar system in late 2019 or early 2020. It will become the second manmade object to leave our solar system following its sister spacecraft Voyage 1, which did so in 2012.

Since it launched in 1977, Voyager 2 has sent many messages back to us. “It has educated us to the unknown wonders of the universe and truly inspired humanity to continue to explore our solar system and beyond,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told Universe Today, a US-based space and astronomy news website.

Apart from exploring the vast universe, Voyager 2 is also carrying the message from Earth. According to the Washington Post, there is a golden record aboard the Voyager 2. It contains 115 images and sounds from Earth, ranging from an image of a chimpanzee to greetings in 55 languages. The record could serve as a “time capsule and transmit much more information about life on Earth, should extraterrestrials find it,” Smithsonian Magazine reported.

However, extraterrestrials might not get the chance to find it. According to Popular Science, the nuclear batteries that power the Voyager probes may stop working around 2030.

(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Ji Yuan)
Edge  边缘
Heliosphere  日光层
Humanity  人类
Capsule  胶囊
Transmit  传播
Extraterrestrials  外星人
Nuclear  核能的