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two spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977 on a mission to explore the outer planets and now the most distant man-made objects in space
As originally designed, the Voyagers were to conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn, Saturn's rings, and the larger moons of the two planets. But, as the mission went on, flybys of the two outermost giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, proved not only possible but irresistible. Since their launch, the two Voyagers have visited all the giant planets of our Solar System -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- as well as 48 of their moons. And they are still going!
artist rendering of a Voyager
The Golden Records
Both Voyager spacecraft carry a greeting to any form of life. The message is carried by a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing 115 sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings in 55 languages.
the "Golden Record"
August 20, 1977 Voyager 2 launched.
Voyager 2 being launched atop a Titan-Centaur
March 5, 1979 Voyager 1 made its
closest approach to Jupiter.
November 12, 1980 Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Saturn.
August 25, 1981 Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn.
January 24, 1986 Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Uranus.
August 25, 1989 Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Neptune.
February 17, 1998 Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space.
December 2004 Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock and entered the heliosheath -- the region between the end of the Sun's magnetic influence and the beginning of interstellar space.
Voyager 1 is escaping the Solar System at a speed of about 3.6 astronomical units (AU) per year. Voyager 2 is escaping at a speed of about 3.3 AU per year.
Although some of the science instruments aboard the
craft have been powered down in order preserve power,
there are still five in operation. They are:
Although the original five-year mission has already stretched to one of about 40 years, it is expected that both Voyagers will continue to return valuable data to Earth for another 20 to 30 years.
It takes about 10 hours for signals from the Voyager spacecraft to reach Earth.
Official Voyager Program Website voyager.jpl.nasa.gov
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This page was last updated on 12/12/2018.