(CNN) -- NASA's Voyager 1 probe has become the first man-made object to enter interstellar space, the U.S. space agency announced Thursday.
Scientists report they have strong evidence that the unmanned spacecraft has crossed the magnetic boundary separating the solar system's sun, planets and solar wind from the rest of the galaxy. The announcement comes more than 36 years after the unmanned spacecraft lifted off on a journey that gave humans close-up views of Jupiter and Saturn before heading toward deep space.
"In leaving the heliosphere and setting sail on the cosmic seas between the stars, Voyager has joined other historic journeys of exploration: The first circumnavigation of the Earth, the first steps on the Moon," said Ed Stone, chief scientist on the Voyager mission. "That's the kind of event this is, as we leave behind our solar bubble."
Voyager 1 is currently 18.8 billion kilometers (11.7 billion miles) from Earth, NASA says. A new study in the journal Science suggests that the probe entered interstellar space around August 25, 2012.