Did you know that Voyager 2 left Earth before Voyager 1? ( Voyager 2: August 20, 1977, Voyager 1: September 5, 1977) Recently, on the nightly news, we heard that Voyager 1 has reached then end of the heliopause (the edge of the solar wind's influence), and is continuing on into space. I believe they said it is moving at a rate of one million miles a DAY.
I checked the Voyager website, and it's speed was given in these terms: "Voyager 1 is speeding away from the Sun at a velocity of about 3.50 AU/year...." I don't have enough math to do the equation, but if you do, you can check to see if 1,000,000 miles a day is correct. Isn't that an astounding figure?
Voyager's mission was rechristened the "Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM)" by NASA in 1989 (after Voyager 2's Neptune encounter). Data collection is continuing.
I found the following information at the NASA site on Voyager:
"Each Voyager has mounted to one of the sides of the bus a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk. The disk has recorded on it sounds and images of Earth designed to portray the diversity of life and culture on the planet. Each disk is encased in a protective aluminum jacket along with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions explaining from where the spacecraft originated and how to play the disk are engraved onto the jacket. Electroplated onto a 2 cm area on the cover is also an ultra-pure source of uranium-238 (with a radioactivity of about 0.26 nanocuries and a half-life of 4.51 billion years), allowing the determination of the elapsed time since launch by measuring the amount of daughter elements to remaining U238. The 115 images on the disk were encoded in analog form. The sound selections (including greetings in 55 languages, 35 sounds, natural and man-made, and portions of 27 musical pieces) are designed for playback at 1000 rpm. The Voyagers were not the first spacecraft designed with such messages to the future. Pioneers 10 and 11, LAGEOS, and the Apollo landers also included plaques with a similar intent, though not quite so ambitious."
Perhaps Voyager should be considered mankind's "first step."