Not entirely related, but I thought people would be interested....
Pioneer 10 (launched 1972; forty years ago): as of 2009, projections indicate that Pioneer 10 reached 100 astronomical units; (1 astronomical unit (AU) = 93 million miles; distance between Earth and the Sun). At this point, the spacecraft is approximately 271,000 AU from the nearest star, Proxima Centauri.
Pioneer 11 (launched 1973): as of February 8, 2012, Pioneer 11 is about 85.013 astronomical units from the Sun.
Voyager 1 (launched 1977): on February 8, 2012, NASA reported that Voyager 1 is about 120.06973 astronomical units from the Earth and about 119.70479 astronomical units from the Sun. On 15 June 2012, NASA scientists reported that Voyager 1 may be very close to entering interstellar space and becoming the first human-made object to leave the Solar System.
Voyager 2 (launched 1977): as of July 25, 2012, Voyager 2, is currently at a distance of about 99.13 astronomical units from the Sun.
Even though Voyager 1 was launched later than Pioneer 10, it is further than Pioneer.
New Horizons (launched 2006; projected to reach Pluto in 2015) as of February 12, 2012, was at a distance of 21.99 astronomical units from the Sun and 22.97 astronomical units from Earth, just beyond the orbit of Uranus.
[Source: English Wikipedia]
Carl Sagan would find it wonderful that we have sent out 5 probes that will eventually leave the solar system. Barring any major impacts or other issues, the probes will survive for several thousand or more years.
This post has been edited by LetosLoveChild: Aug 1 2012, 01:04