The year 2013 wasn’t a great one for the environment. Sparing the details: Nature’s calamities didn’t let up, humans’ relentless exploitation of natural resources didn’t either. Amid this discouraging chronicle, one story never made the headlines. It’s a small story, but it reaches farther into the future than any other story during 2013, even climate change. Call it “One giant leap past the Sun.”
On Sept. 12, 2013, NASA announced that Voyager 1, a spacecraft launched in 1977, had left the solar system and entered interstellar space. Scientists established the crossover date as Aug. 25, 2012, the first time any human-made craft has made contact with the galaxy—a monumental event.