Voyager 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral on Sept. 5, 1977, carrying scientific instruments for planetary exploration and a message to the universe in the form of recordings of different languages and images.
It is currently over 11 billion kilometres from Earth. Although heading in a different direction, it 'overtook' the Pioneer 10 spacecraft in terms of distance from the Sun in February 1998 making it the most distant man-made object.
Voyager 1 still returns data, even though the power of the signal reaching NASA antennas is 20 billion times weaker than the power delivered by a digital watch battery. Voyager I is expected to have enough power from its plutonium radio-active power source to operate until about 2020. By then it will be over 22 billion kilometres away and of course will not stop its journey but will just be unable to communicate with controllers on Earth. What are the chances that some alien civilisation will find it one day and bring it back to us - 'is this your spacecraft I found wandering in the galaxy?'