This artist's rendering shows Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 at the edge of the solar system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AFP/Getty Images)
By USA TODAY
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is traveling through a previously unknown region of deep space as it heads out of our solar system, which might happen soon, scientists reported Monday.
Voyage and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched in 1977 and will become the first manmade objects to exit our celestial neighborhood -- relatively soon.
"We don't know exactly how long it will take," Edward Stone, a project scientist, told reporters during a teleconference, Space.com reports. "It may take two months, it may take two years."
"We do believe this may be the very last layer between us and interstellar space," he said. "This region was not anticipated, was not predicted."
Both spacecraft, which continue to send data back to Earth, are in the heliosheath, the outermost layer of the heliosphere. That's where the force of interstellar gas slows the solar wind generated by the Sun.
Scientists, meeting Monday in San Francisco, dubbed the new region a "magnetic highway," where charged particles from inside and outside the heliosphere flow out and in.
The twin probes explored Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus between 1979 and 1989.