The NASA Voyager probe is the furthest man made object from the Earth at the moment.
The NASA Voyager probe that is now traveling out of the Solar System has its own Twitter page! See it here: NASA Voyager. This probe has withstood amazing levels of radiation and is still transmitting precious information back to NASA. On the sixth of September the 35th anniversary of the launching of the Voyager probe was celebrated. Now it is 11,000,000,000 miles from the Sun; it is the furthest man-made object from the Earth. We might be able to catch up with the Voyager probe in the future if we had technology that allowed us to travel through space at an immense velocity and go past the heliosphere into interstellar space for the first time. Traveling into deep space would allow us to see such objects as the theoretical Quark stars formed from the degeneration of Neutrons into the up and down quarks they are composed of and therefore become an even denser sphere. An electroweak star is a star that is formed when the pressure outwards formed by radiation balances out the immense pressure that is trying to compress the star into a black hole. It is amazing that the core would only be the size of an Apple and would weigh twice that of the Earth. That is how dense exotic matter can become when enough force is exerted upon it by the mass of the material above. But that is what happens when you squeeze something that closely; it is compressed into an exotic form of matter.
Such a massively dense object is possibly dwarfed by the Preon stars; these would be even denser than a Neutron star; but they could not be too large as they would form a black hole and collapse under the immense mass they would form. But they are a good distance from us and there is no real threat to us if something like a gamma ray burst or other explosion were to happen in the near future. The Voyager 1 probe will be passing close by the star Gliese 445 in about 40,000 years 1.6 light-years away. This is truly amazing. If the space shuttle was traveling at the speed that the Voyager 1 probe is now; which is about 38,120 miles per hour; it would take 73,775 years to reach our nearest star Proxima Centauri. That is a good visualization of how far away the stars in the sky really are. There are stars that have planets around them that could harbor life; but if they are 200 light-years away it would take millions of years to reach them at that speed. It is amazing that there have been theories put forward that the stars like our own could harbor life after they turn into a white dwarf star. We can not even imagine what life would look like if it could exist on the surface of a white dwarf star. I saw that theory years ago on the Discovery channel; I am not sure if this is possible; but who knows what is possible when life is so abundant on the Earth; it could exist on such an exotic environment as the surface of a white dwarf star.
The white dwarf stars could support life on orbiting stations or on captured planets due to the fact that they can last for a very long time indeed and they would enable a long-lived alien civilization to live for a long time after the yellow dwarf and red giant stars have died out; this is one method of survival many billions of years into the future after all the other stars have died out. Eventually the Voyager probe could meet an alien civilization countless billions of years in the future; but it would be so far from Earth by then that it would be doubtful that the finders would be able to find their way to Earth using the guide on the golden record. Unless they are very advanced and knowledgeable enough about the Universe that they could actually trace its trajectory back to Earth; but it is more likely that we could simply catch up with it and bring it home again to rest in the Smithsonian. With near-future technology like nuclear propulsion; we could travel to another star in 113 years at massive speed; but this would mean that time would travel slower on the spacecraft than it would back on Earth and this would have interesting ramifications for the crew. Traveling very fast would mean that millions of years would go by on Earth and only a few years would pass for the crew of the spacecraft. They might leave in the year 2099 and come back in the year 200,000,000. What effect would that have on them?
But this is one way to open interstellar travel to humanity; the distances are so immense that anything at the speed of the Voyager probe would take longer than any lifespan to reach any star outside the solar system. Traveling to another galaxy would still be impossible; this would therefore require some more exotic method of space travel like folding space or creating a wormhole to travel more quickly by using a shortcut through space. Traveling through space at 80% of the speed of light would mean that if the spacecraft was hit by a single dust particle it would be destroyed in a huge explosion due to the kinetic energy that is the result of such a small object hitting the spacecraft with such speed. And the radiation met by the spacecraft would be enormous. The electromagnetic ram-scoop was another technology that could allow travel to the stars; but it is not really a possibility at the moment. Warp drive could be a technology that could take us to the stars; the Alcubierre drive is one drive technology that still provides some possibility for human exploration of the Universe. The space craft would have to be encased in a bubble of space time that was separate from the rest of the Universe; this would insulate the spacecraft from the effects of time dilation. This means that we would be able to travel through interstellar space without the time travel that results from travel near the speed of light. Sure; the distant galaxies would still be too far away for us but the nearby stars would be still within our reach.
The Voyager probe sent photos back from the orbit of Neptune and they took five hours to reach Earth. That is a clue to the vast distances involved. This was in August 1989; now that the spacecraft is now on the brink of interstellar space and will be our ambassador to the Universe; it is now beyond our reach by any means until the aforementioned interstellar travel technology is invented by some enterprising scientist that discovers a new technology that allows faster travel and opens up the Universe to everyone who wished to see a Neutron star or red hyper giant up close and personal. Once Obama is re-elected will he help guide America to a future in space or more pointless wars. One thing that would help humanity would be going back to more sensible 1950s styled clothing and not the sometimes horrid fashions sported today. If Aliens really do come here and see us what would they think? But we are not really an exotic life form considering the other lifeforms on this planet like the life-forms living around black smokers on the bottom of the ocean. There is a pulsar 1,300 light-years away from the Earth that has planets orbiting it at the same distance as we orbit the sun. This Pulsar is named B1257 + 12 and although it radiates a nice amount of radiation to keep the planets warm; it would boil humans alive if the electromagnetic radiation did not irradiate us to death first. Not to forget the immense gravitational pull.