NASA has predicted which stars its long lost probes will pass by thousands, and in some cases millions, of years from now.
It might feel as if aside from man walking on the moon, our quest to venture further and further into space is something of a modern phenomenon. That is not necessarily so. During the decade after the moon landing, NASA sent several spacecraft into the vast expanse that is space. Pioneer's 10 and 11, and Voyager's 1 and 2. To this day, along with the New Horizon's probe, they are the only objects sent into space by NASA that are capable of reaching interstellar space.
In fact, Voyagers 1 and 2 have already made it there. Interstellar space is the endless expanse beyond our own solar system. Space.com has reported that the Pioneers and New Horizon will also eventually join the Voyager twins in interstellar space. Although NASA will eventually lose contact with all the crafts, experts have predicted where they'll go and when they'll get there.
Since everything around the spacecraft will be moving along with them, the math was extremely difficult to figure out. They used the positions and velocities of 7.2 million stars in order to do so. After doing so, the first discovery they made was an estimation as to when Voyager 1 will pass by the next closest star to Earth after the sun, Proxima Centauri. In about 16,700 years.
It won't exactly be a fly-by either. The closest Voyager 1 will get to the star is 1.1 parsecs. To put that into perspective (sort of) our own sun is 1.29 parsecs away from Proxima Centauri, so Voyager 1 won't get much closer to it. It will come close to the affectionately named star TYC 3135-52-1, though. Within 0.3 parsecs which will bring it close enough to be within the shell of cosmic objects that lie beyond a sun's planets. It'll take more than 300,000 years to get there, though.
While scientists revealed that this project was done for fun, it was also a project that branched off of their research into the mysterious interstellar object dubbed Oumuamua. The unidentified object passed through our solar system and has since, and scientists want to know where it came from and where it went. So do we scientists, so do we.