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Q. What becomes of old deep space probes? — Laura Y.
A. Eventually, they fall into the Sun.
Old spacecraft sent out from Earth travel around and around the Sun. The powerful gravity of our star draws them ever closer. Eventually, they will burn up as they come too close to the Sun's great heat.

As they travel around the Sun, those human-built spacecraft are in the heliosphere, which simply is the region of space around the Sun. From our point of view, the heliosphere encompasses our Solar System.

To an astronomer, the heliosphere is the region of space through which the solar wind extends. The solar wind is a stream of high-speed, ionized particles ejected by the Sun, primarily from the corona.

Heliospheric objects are bodies traveling within the heliosphere. They include natural bodies such as planets and moons, but they also can be human constructions such as spacecraft.

Here are some of the human-built heliospheric objects still out there traveling around the Sun:

SpacecraftLaunch
GALILEO1989
GIOTTO1992
HELIOS 11974
HELIOS 21976
ICE1984
PHOBOS 21988
PIONEER 101972
PIONEER 111973
SAKIGAKE1985
SUISEI1989
ULYSSES1990
VOYAGER 11977
VOYAGER 21977

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