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Voyager 2 Is Oldest Man-Made Object In Space

Exactly how old is the oldest man-made object still floating in space?

saturn_rings

Photo: NASA

Photography of Saturn taken by Voyager 2 on July 21, 1981.

Countless robots, shuttles and satellites have been launched in space over the years, but how old is the oldest of all time?

The two Voyager spacecraft win the prize! Voyager 2 spacecraft that was first launched into the great unknown on August 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 soon followed on September 5th.

(You read correctly; Voyager 2 was launched first!)

Since then, the Voyagers’ cameras have provided us with beautiful and scientifically invaluable images of the wonders of our solar system, including Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons.

So let’s do the math.

These remarkable man-made crafts have both just hit their 12,000th day in space this summer! That’s over 33 years and 14 billion miles that they have each traveled in space. Not only are Voyager 1 and 2 the oldest, but they are now also the spacecraft farthest from Earth.

When will this thing finally poop out? Well, scientists expect that the powerful nuclear battery will last at least until 2020. Scientists hope that’s enough time to make it to the edge of the solar system. Stay tuned!

Read More:

  • After 12,000 Days in Space, Voyager 1 Heads for the Solar System Boundary (PopSci)
  • Voyager 2 Completes 12,000 Days of Continuous Operation (NASA)

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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  • http://twitter.com/nawitus Panu Horsmalahti

    No, Voyager 2 is not the oldest one. I don't know the oldest one for certain, but Mars 1 (also known as 1962 Beta Nu 1, Mars 2MV-4 and Sputnik 2) probe by the Soviets is way older than the Voyagers.

  • Anonymous

    It might be better to say the oldest still operating. Vanguard 1, launched in 1958, is still up there, even though it ceased to operate back in 1964.

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