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NASA prepares to power-down Voyager spacecraft after 44 years

They have spent the best part of half a century travelling farther from Earth than any other man-made objects.

But the two Voyager spacecraft are now entering their final phase, with NASA eyeing a potential timeline for their powering-down.

Voyager 1 is currently 14.5 billion miles (23.3bn km) from Earth, a distance which takes 20 light hours and 33 minutes to travel, while Voyager 2 is 12 billion miles and 18 hours’ light distance from us.

It means it takes two days for engineers to send a message to the spacecraft and get a response.

Both Voyagers launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida in 1977 — with Voyager 2 departing a month earlier than 1 — and were designed to last five years to study Jupiter and Saturn.

They have far exceeded that, however, having been travelling for 44…

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