The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/16/34724_.html ' target=_blank>Voyager I spacecraft has moved into the solar system's final frontier, a vast area where the sun's influence gives way to interstellar space, NASA's Web site reports.
At 8.7 billion miles from the sun, Voyager I has entered the heliosheath, a region beyond termination shock -- the critical boundary that marks the transition from the solar system into interstellar space.
Contrary to popular belief, space is not an empty void. Rather, the solar system is awash in solar wind, charged gases that flow off the sun at supersonic speed. The wind travels at an average speed ranging from 300 to 700 kilometers per second (700,000 to 1.5 million mph), reports CNN News.
According to the Washington Post, of far greater concern to scientists is the possibility that NASA could kill the $4.2 million-a-year project to free up money for President Bush's initiative to send humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars.
NASA has put Voyager's fate on hold while independent reviewers evaluate the mission, with a decision expected in February. "We're very excited," Krimigis said of the latest findings. "We hope &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/379/15424_comet.html ' target=_blank>NASA will reconsider, and we're confident they will."
Stone presented the Voyager data during a telephone news conference at the 2005 Joint Assembly in New Orleans -- a joint meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the North American Benthological Society, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society.