Science & Environment

Voyager's epic journey: FAQ

How was a timing calculated for my journey to reach Voyager 1?

For the purposes of this graphic, we calculated how long it would take someone to reach Voyager 1's current location if they could travel in a straight line. We did not calculate how long it would take to follow exactly the same path that Voyager has taken.

Although Voyager 1 is close to 18.7 billion km from Earth (nearly 11.6 billion miles), it has travelled close to 25.4 billion km (15.8 billion miles) to date. We have based our calculations on reaching Voyager's distance from Earth.

Once details of your commute are entered into the webpage, your average speed is calculated. This is used to work out how long it would take to reach the position of Voyager 1, as of 6 September 2013.

Of course, by the time this imaginary journey has taken place, Voyager itself would be billions of kilometres further out in space.

How do we know where the spacecraft are ?

Nasa publish updates showing the locations of both probes as well as their current speeds.

Does Voyager always travel at the same speed?

The two spacecraft travel at different speeds in relation to Earth, as Earth is also moving through space as it orbits the Sun. The speed for Voyager 1 used in this interactive is 44 km/s.

Where is Voyager 2?

Although launched before its twin, Voyager 2 is not as close to leaving the Solar System as Voyager 1. The two probes have travelled very different paths since parting ways after their flypast of Saturn. In addition, the Solar System is not the same size or shape in all directions.

Are the planets in the graphic to scale?

The planets are shown in proportion to each other, but they are not in proportion to the scale used to chart Voyager's journey through the Solar System. This is to make them more visible. To show the size of the Solar System the graphics have been produced with a scale of roughly one pixel to represent two million kilometres, on desktop. For smartphones, the scale is five million kilometres per pixel.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites