Voyager’s 1970s vintage computers are still working, though almost all of its instruments have been turned off. It’s remarkable that scientists can still contact it, let alone reprogram it to compensate for memory damage caused by the impact of harmful cosmic rays. Its power source will work for several years but engineers worry most about its computers’ health. It recently struggled but recovered. One day it will not answer back.

In 50,000 years, less than the blink of a cosmic eye, our sun will no longer be the brightest star in its sky, having been replaced by Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky.

In Voyager’s life the first footprints on the moon are as fleeting as are the Rings of Saturn. Long after the pyramids have crumbled into sand and the Earth has become uninhabitable, it will be just starting its odyssey.

An odyssey implies a return home. What could possibly go wrong for Voyager on the way back?