"Voyager 1 crossed this point nearly six years ago so this is now quite a different time in solar activity and now they are in different places - Voyager 1 was up and Voyager 2 is down and to the left in the southern hemisphere".
This was because the planned route for Voyager 2 was significantly longer, with it being set on a flyby course with numerous outer planets, revealing the first close-ups and important scientific data on planets such as Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Sadly the spacecraft won't still be sending us data at that point. Estimates of how far the Oort Cloud stretches vary between about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) - one AU is the distance between the Sun and the Earth of about 150 million kilometers - and 100,000 AU.
"Working on Voyager makes me feel like an explorer, because everything we're seeing is new", said John Richardson, principal investigator for the PLS instrument and a principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "Now we're looking forward to what we'll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause".
At the end of last year, NASA for the first time in 37 years, started back engines, "Voyager 1", which will allow you to maintain the connection with the device two to three years.
Of course, that's a rather long time - particularly when one considers that the Voyager probes are already massive overachievers when it comes to longevity.More news: November Hiring Slowed To 155K Jobs, Unemployment Rate Stayed 3.7 Percent
With both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 beyond the heliopause, scientists are eager to combine those measurements with those from spacecraft and instruments within the sun's heliosphere. Their two-planet mission became a four-planet mission.
NASA aimed Voyager 2 at the outer planets for what it called the "Grand Tour".
The Voyager mission was launched in the 1970's, and the probes sent by NASA were only meant to explore the outer planets - but they just kept on going. Each probe contains a 'Golden Record', curated by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan that contains a collection of music, sounds, and images from earth.
In the year 40,272, the spacecraft will sail within 1.7 light-years of the star Gliese 445 in the constellation Camelopardalis. But NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by Pluto and is about to conduct the most distant-ever rendezvous in the solar system, could continue operating into interstellar space, giving us a third functioning interstellar probe in coming decades.
A NASA illustration of the Voyager spacecraft. It's even possible the Voyagers will outlive the solar system, surviving long after the sun's death sculpts our neighbourhood into a dramatically different place. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. "November 5 was the day that the galactic cosmic-ray intensity abruptly increased, and that same date was when the heliospheric particle intensity dropped significantly", says Voyager project scientist Ed Stone.