Beyond Our Solar System; US Spacecraft Heads To History

To boldly gowhere no man, um, earth-made object has gone before.{} That's the"Star Trek"-like history that the spacecraft Voyager 1 is about tomake.

Voyager 1 waslaunched, by NASA, more than 35 years ago.{} That happened around threemonths after the first "Star Wars" movie came out.

Believe it ornot the instruments on Voyager 1 still work, and the ones on its brother/sistercraft Voyager 2 are also still cranking.{} Scientists say Voyager 1 has anuclear power plant that should keep running for at least seven moreyears.{} And maybe Detroitcould learn a few things from the craft's engineering; it's still sending databack to earth from the edge of the solar system.

Voyager 1 istraveling at around 38,000 mph{} It is now 11.5 billion miles away fromhome.{} It passed the planets that orbit around our sun years ago.

NASA says it'sfound some interesting things as the spacecraft gets closer to leaving our solarsystem, including changes in what's called "solar wind" that nobodycould have predicted.{} And it's noted that the magnetic field pull onVoyager 1 has stayed there, which makes scientists think it is still slightlyinside{}the sun's area of influence.{} Scientists say they seeevidence, however, that the trip to the "outer regions" is gettingcloser, because they've seen the level of cosmic rays from outside the solarsystem start to rise dramatically.

The projectscientist for both Voyagers summed things up quite well, saying{}"Ithink it's clear we do not have a model which explains all of this."

Beyond,perhaps, to boldly go where no earth-created thing has gone before. {}