NASA’s Voyager 2 probe is the second man-made object to have crossed into interstellar space. The probe achieved the feat on November 5, and is aimed to study the outer reaches of the solar system. It is the only probe to have ever visited the outer gas giants — Uranus and Neptune.
In April 2011, NASA had declared that Voyager 2 had reached the edge of the solar system, known as the heliosheath. This is the region where the planetary forces of interaction cease to exist, but matter would still be bound by the effects of solar wind, that also contains low-frequency radio signals and magnetic disturbances. In November this year, from its analysis, the US space agency has confirmed that the probe has now crossed over the heliosheath, and is in the space between solar systems, or interstellar space.
The first probe from the Voyager series was launched on August 20, 1977, a few days before Voyager 1. The probe was initially intended to study the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, and also ended up giving interesting insights into the structure of the planets themselves, as well as their moons. The probe passed by each of the four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, in its pursuit toward outer space.
Voyager 2 is among two probes that have been considered as a medium to interact with alien species, should any cross their paths. Key among these is the Golden Record, that offers a glimpse into the origins of the Earth, and sound of nature and culture.