The Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, will have gotten only about one light-day away from Earth by 2050. Although this sounds extreme, Neptune, the furthest planet from Earth in the solar system, is only about 4.16 light-hours away. The Voyager 1 covers about 330 million miles every year.
More facts about the Voyager spacecraft:
- The Voyager 1 and its sister craft, the Voyager 2, originally were intended to gather information about Jupiter and Saturn, but the mission was extended. Now the two spacecraft are traveling through the edge of the solar system, called the heliosheath, and are expected to pass into insterstellar space — the area between the solar system and other star systems in the galaxy — around 2015.
- Each Voyager craft carries a disc called a "golden record," which is a gold-plated copper phonograph record containing greetings in a wide variety of languages, pictorial instructions for playing the record and a drawing of a hydrogen atom, among other things.
- As of 2011, the Voyager 1 was the man-made object that was farthest from Earth, having passed the Pioneer 10 on 17 February 1998.