Voyager's prolonged journey into interstellar space took another dramatic turn when the intrepid space probe last summer passed into a bizarre and unanticipated cosmic hallway between the bubble of space under the sun's influence and whatever lies beyond.
On the celestial highway since September 1977, the Voyager 1 probe soared past Jupiter and Saturn in 1979 and 1980, respectively, then ended up an a path that led toward interstellar space. Eventually, the spacecraft will get there, but exactly when that will happen -- and what else it may encounter before then -- is anybody's guess.
"The results of the measurements from Voyager have been surprising us not just since last August, but for about the last 2.5 years," astronomer Stamatios Krimigis, with Johns Hopkinds University's Applied Physics Laboratory, told Discovery News.
ANALYSIS: Voyager 1 Can 'Taste' the Interstellar Shore
Scientists thought Voyager 1 had finally passed beyond the heliosheath, the outermost region of space touched by the solar wind, a stream of charged particles continuously flowing the sun. On Aug. 25, 2012, Voyager suddenly found itself in an uncharted region of space, marked by the abrupt disappearance of particles from the sun and the sudden rise of particles emanating from interstellar space.