NASA is shutting down the systems of the Voyager probes this year.

The decision to reduce power on the probes is meant to extend their lifespan a few more years, taking them to around 2030.

The Voyager probes are powered by radioactive plutonium, which has kept the tiny on-board computers running for decades on end.

"If everything goes really well, maybe we can get the missions extended into the 2030s. It just depends on the power. That's the limiting point," said Spilker.

After 2030, Voyager will likely lose its ability to communicate with Earth. But that doesn't necessarily mean its mission will be over.

The Voyager probes' primary purpose was to fly by Jupiter and Saturn, a mission that they soon fulfilled. Then they just kept going, sending back images of our solar system and beaming home readings from deep space.

The Voyager probes launched 45 years ago, in 1977, and have pushed the boundaries of space exploration ever since. They are further away from Earth than any other manmade object, a record that will likely stay unbroken for decades.