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When will a spacecraft overtake Voyager-1 in distance from the Sun?


News of the human race's recent technological achievements has been spreading outward in the electromagnetic spectrum for decades, in the form of radio/TV transmissions including, importantly, I Love Lucy reruns. There is now a sphere of approximately 100 light-years in radius where, in principle, someone could listen to our radio.

With much smaller radius and much sparser coverage of the surface of the sphere, the news also spreads via actual physical objects that we have launched outward from Earth. If we define this radius by the human-built spacecraft that is most distant from us, then the current winner is Voyager-1, which wrested that title from Pioneer 10 in 1998. Voyager-1 is currently about 13 billion miles away from the Sun, or 141 AU - somewhat less than a light-day. You can get the up-to-date figures here.

Sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere is to wait a few decades and then use the latest technology. So we ask:

When will Voyager 1 lose the title of the spacecraft (built by the human race) that is most distant from the Sun?

We want no restriction on size here for something to count as a spacecraft - we intentionally include nano-probes of the kind proposed by Avi Loeb and Yuri Milner.

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