NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is in a new previously uncharted region of outer space, according to new research published online today in Science magazine. 

The small spacecraft is the size of a large car and it’s been traveling for a long time — more than 35 years. And after covering roughly 11 billion miles, it’s poised to do something no manmade object has ever done: break through the confines of our solar system into something known only as interstellar matter.

The new data confirms that scientists are not 100 percent sure when that will happen, but it will be soon. In fact, it could be happening right now. 

There are only a handful of people on the planet who can read the data and let us know when that happens. One of them is Voyager Team scientist and Boston University assistant professor of astronomy Merav Opher, who sat down with The Curiosity Desk last summer to discuss how scientists will be able to tell when Voyager 1 has actually broken on through to the other side, what it means to "touch" the outer edge of the solar system and why Ella Fitzgerald and Mozart are on board the spacecraft.

Here's that interview:



It's worth noting that on board both Voyager spacecraft are copies of what NASA calls the "Golden Record." Each phonograph record (they are actually made of gold) contains sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. On the back is an etching that includes instructions on how to play the record. Here is what renowned astronomer Carl Sagan, who was the man behind the Golden Record, had to say about it: "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet."

Here are some highlights: