NASA Voyager statement about competing models to explain recent spacecraft data

Aug 15, 2013
This artist's concept shows NASA's Voyager spacecraft against a field of stars in the darkness of space. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Phys.org) —A newly published paper argues that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has already entered interstellar space. The model described in the paper is new and different from other models used so far to explain the data the spacecraft has been sending back from more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away from our sun.

NASA's Voyager project scientist, Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, explains:

"Details of a new model have just been published that lead the scientists who created the model to argue that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft data can be consistent with entering in 2012. In describing on a fine scale how magnetic field lines from the sun and from interstellar space can connect to each other, they conclude Voyager 1 has been detecting the interstellar magnetic field since July 27, 2012. Their model would mean that the interstellar magnetic field direction is the same as that which originates from our sun.

Other models envision the interstellar magnetic field draped around our solar bubble and predict that the direction of the interstellar magnetic field is different from the inside. By that interpretation, Voyager 1 would still be inside our solar bubble.

The fine-scale magnetic connection model will become part of the discussion among scientists as they try to reconcile what may be happening on a fine scale with what happens on a larger scale.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is exploring a region no spacecraft has ever been to before. We will continue to look for any further developments over the coming months and years as Voyager explores an uncharted frontier."

Explore further: NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA invites the public to fly along with Voyager

Apr 25, 2013

(Phys.org) —A gauge on the Voyager home page, http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov, tracks levels of two of the three key signs scientists believe will appear when the spacecraft leave our solar neighborhood and ...

Signs changing fast for Voyager at solar system edge

Aug 03, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Two of three key signs of changes expected to occur at the boundary of interstellar space have changed faster than at any other time in the last seven years, according to new data from NASA's ...

At the solar system's edge, more surprises from Voyager

Jun 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —Data from NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft continues to provide new insight on the outskirts of our solar system, a frontier thought to be the last that Voyager will cross before becoming the first ...

Recommended for you

Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

7 hours ago

A spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed ...

NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

Jan 23, 2015

It's showtime for Pluto. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 3 billion miles and is nearing the end of its nine-year journey to Pluto. Sunday, it begins photographing the mysterious, unexplored, icy ...

Gullies on Vesta suggest past water-mobilized flows

Jan 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its ...

SOHO and Hinode offer new insight into solar eruptions

Jan 23, 2015

The sun is home to the largest explosions in the solar system. For example, it regularly produces huge eruptions known as coronal mass ejections – when billions of tons of solar material erupt off the sun, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.