For the first time since 1980, NASA activated the backup thrusters on Voyager 1 in a bid to extend the spacecraft’s life an extra two to three years by pointing its antenna at Earth. The craft has traveled 13 billion miles since it was launched in 1977 to explore the giant planets of our outer solar system. It is the only human-made object in interstellar space, the environment between the stars.
Class discussion: Could you imagine a car starting up after standing idle 37 years like Voyager 1’s thrusters? After showing us Jupiter's moons, Saturn's rings and Neptune's winds, what can Voyager still tell us about space? Who decided what was recorded on a gold-plated phonograph disk attached to Voyager 1? Do you think there are intelligent beings out there that could understand Voyager’s messages?