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Mankind's messenger to enter the final frontier

Published on Sep 6, 2012 6:23 AM
This Nasa file image obtained on Aug 9, 2002, shows one of the two Voyager spacecraft. Sept 5, 2012, marks the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch to Jupiter and Saturn. It is now flitting around the fringes of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble. -- PHOTO: AFP/NASA

PARIS (AFP) - It looks like a dustbin lid strapped to a cluster of fishing rods. Its computer is so puny it could not even start up your iPhone. And if ET wants to listen to the message it brings, he'll need a gramophone to play it on.

But in the history of space exploration, there is not a probe that can touch the glittering career of Voyager 1, mankind's first messenger to the cosmos.

Thirty-five years after it was launched, the doughty explorer is on the brink of leaving the Solar System and heading into the deep chill of interstellar space.

More than 18 billion kilometres from home, Voyager 1 is still yielding terrific science as it battles through the last fringes of our star system.

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