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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Universe in 101 words: How far away is Voyager 2?

Above: A breakdown of the 'famous inscription on Voyager 2, designed to tell any intelligence that might find it who we were, and where we came from.

It's amazing what persistence can do. Take the Voyager 2 space probe: After 40 years of flying even light, the fastest thing there is, would take nearly a day to reach it (you can actually track it in real time here).

So it's dark where Voyager is now, punctuated only by the glow of the Milky Way, and the distant point that is the Sun.

But it isn't empty.

Voyager still talks with Earth - it's exploring the dust, gas, and strangely behaved magnetic fields in that darkness. Over millions of years they can slowly influence our planet, even causing mass extinctions.

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