The Voyager 1 and 2 space probes are the furthest man made objects in space. Recently Voyager 1 reached interstellar space, making it the first probe to leave our galaxy. The so called interstellar medium is the matter that exist in the space between the star systems in a galaxy. That matter includes gas in ionic, atomic, and molecular form, as well as dust and cosmic rays.
The Voyager program is an ongoing scientific program that employs two robotic interstellar probes. Both were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, to fly near them to collecting data for transmission back to Earth.
NASA describes the project like this:
“The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence, and possibly beyond. This extended mission is continuing to characterize the outer solar system environment and search for the heliopause boundary, the outer limits of the Sun’s magnetic field and outward flow of the solar wind. Penetration of the heliopause boundary between the solar wind and the interstellar medium will allow measurements to be made of the interstellar fields, particles and waves unaffected by the solar wind.”
Launched more than 40 years ago, the two probes keep expanding our horizons and send valuable data back to NASA. Having flown past the giant planets in the late 1970s and 1980s, Voyagers 1 and 2 are now well beyond all their planetary targets. NASA released a documentary that shows how the Voyager mission started and what we’ve learned from it.
The documentary is freely available on YouTube for everyone interested in space exploration to enjoy: