Voyager 1 is speeding along at about 57,600 kph (35,790 mph) - fast enough to travel from the Earth to the Sun three and a half times in one year. As of March 2002, Voyager 1 was at a distance of 12.4 billion kilometers (84 Astronomical Units) from the Sun. But it could still take more than 20 years to escape our solar system. Its sister spacecraft, Voyager 2, will be the next object out of our solar system. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 also are on courses that will eventually take them into interstellar space.
All four spacecraft are carrying messages from humanity. Both Voyagers carry a gold record 'greeting to the universe' containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.
'Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.'