The Voyager Space Probes are two deep space probes that were launched by N.A.S.A. in the 1970`s. The first Voyager 1 was launched on September 5th, 1977 with it sister probe Voyager 2 launched on August 20th, 1977, days earlier. They along with Pioneer 10 space probe are the furthest man made objects from Earth. Whilst the Pioneer 10 space probe is no longer being listened to as of January 23rd, 2003. They were launched to take advantage of the closeness of the two major gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn.The Voyager probes are still in operation. They were the inspiration for being the antagonists in Star Trek, the Motion Picture.
After their original missions had ended, the people at NASA decided to extend their missions and send them out to the outer planets Uranus and Neptune. They will not be visiting the dwarf planet Pluto as their paths are not in alignment. The New Horizons space probe is currently on its way to Pluto expecting to arriving in 2015.
Each probe contains a golden disc like the one below. On it, it shows where our planet is. If you`re thinking that I`ve got it wrong because there are no pictures of naked people, that is because those people are on the Pioneer 10 crafts, not voyager. It is hope that if the crafts ever came into contact with aliens then they would be able to decypher the images and come and make friends. The golden discs contains voice recordings from different nationalities on Earth with a variety of welcome messages.
The only aliens they would have chance of coming into contact are those that have the ability to do warp speeds. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will take the 40,000 years to come within 1.6 light years light years to AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Voyager 2 will take the same length of time to come within 1.7 light years of Sirius. Both probes have enough power to last until 2020 by which time they will be 12.4 Billion miles (Voyager 1) and 10.5 Billion Miles (Voyager 2) from the Earth.
It was announced in August 2012 that Voyager 1 had passed through the Heliosphere, the edge of the Sun`s influence before being met by interstellar radiation. That was not confirmed for another year though. Voyager 1 is at a distance of 128 AU at present. An AU is the distance between Earth and the Sun. You can see where they are in realtime on the NASA page. It is believed that Voyager 1 will reach the Oort Cloud in about 300 years but we will not have any data sent back due to the power having run out.
Although Pioneer 10 was launched beforehand, Voyager 1 overtook Pioneer 10 on February 17th 1998 and is currently the furthest man made item from Earth. The Voyagers are also the fastest moving man-made items, faster than a speeding bullet1. The homepage of Voyager space probes is at NASA.