NASA's Voyager 1 is the most far-flung object ever launched, having spent the last 35 years putting upwards of 11-billion miles between itself and the Sun, soaring through space at speeds approaching 11 miles per second. Now, the Agency reports that Voyager has entered an entirely new region of space at the fringes of our solar system — the so-called "Magnetic Highway." Voyager scientists believe it could be the final region the spacecraft will have to traverse before reaching interstellar space.
We've written about Voyager 1's unprecedented journey into the space between star systems (known to astronomers as the "interstellar medium," or "ISM") before, so check there if you need a refresher on Voyager 1 and its mission of deep-space exploration. For the rest of you, here's a quick recap: for the last several years, Voyager 1 has been dancing on the edge of the heliosphere — a cosmic bubble of solar wind that surrounds our sun. The farther from the sun Voyager gets, the less solar wind it experiences, allowing high-energy electrons from the ISM to leak into the heliosphere and "push back" on the Sun's solar wind. Using Voyager 1's low-energy charged particle instrument as a sort of windsock for subatomic particles, NASA can get a feel for how the cosmic breezes are blowing at the spacecraft's current position.