|This NASA file image shows one of the two Voyager spacecraft. Sept. 5, 2012 marks the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch to Jupiter and Saturn. It is now flitting around the fringes of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble.(NASA/FILES/HO)
It's mankind's most loyal watchdog.
Thirty-five years ago Wednesday, NASA pointed out to space and Voyager 1 leapt to work.
As disco died and new wars were born, the obedient bundle of sensors and systems moved farther from the discovery of AIDS, John Lennon's assassination, the L.A. riots, Lorena Bobbitt's revenge, O.J. Simpson's trials, 9/11 and reality television.
While the world became mired in a lot of muck, Voyager 1 -- like its brother Voyager 2 sent in another direction -- continued to search our solar system.
At this moment, still the loyal servant, Voyager 1 is at the back-gate of our yard -- interstellar space next door.
Running through the limits of a giant plasma bubble, created by our sun, mankind has never created another object that has gone this far for us.
Along the way, it has snapped remarkable pictures of Earth's neighbouring planets and collected libraries of information that now takes 17 hours to reach scientists.
Your new cellphone is a more sophisticated piece of technology.
Once a marvel, Voyager 1 seems charmingly dated with its eight-track tape recorder and 68 kilobytes of memory.
But this determined outrider is, unless you believe alien life is hovering nearby, entirely alone. And getting colder.
Earlier this year, NASA officials turned off heaters on board, hoping to conserve power.
Billions of kilometres from the warmth of our sun, it's even gone further than Voyager 2 that was launched two weeks previous.
Voyager 1 is expected to soon break through to the other side from the magnetic and porous barrier of our solar system -- the other side is expected to be a calmer ride with eight years of life expectancy left.
Dr. David Hanes, head of the department of physics, engineering physics and astronomy at Queens University in Kingston, Ont., says there's a scientific significance to the journey Voyager 1 is on, but also an inspirational mission as well.
Onboard is a gold record of now celebrated sounds, music, pictures and words from Earth.
A speck in space, and not aimed at any particular star as it moves at 56,000 km/h, Voyager isn't likely going to be found or understood by another life-form.
"But it's us saying hello to the universe," Hanes says.
So we included our very best onboard.
In his lectures, the professor asks students what they would brag about when it comes to Earth and what muck would they keep hidden from outsiders.
Loyal Voyager -- 35 years of taking our commands -- still seems worthy of being our scout, as it pushes the gate open.