VOYAGER MISSIONS I & II
Voyager I and II were launched by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1977 to view a rare planetary alignment that only happens every 176 years and then extend exploration and chart the outer limits of the solar system beyond our neighbourhood.
- Voyager 1 and 2 exited our part of the universe in different directions.
- In 1989, Voyager 1 and 2 made their way towards interstellar space and earlier this year Voyager 1 entered interstellar space. Interstellar space is the vast expanses between the stars and the star systems beyond our solar system.
- The Voyagers will continue to transmit information for another 20 years until they can no longer provide adequate power from their nuclear generators to.
Since their departure, they have discovered 21 moons and transmitted information back to earth that has changed space science and our view of the universe.
- Voyager 2 launched on August 20 1977, two weeks before Voyager 1 was launched on September 5 1977, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from Kennedy Space Flight Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket.
- The Voyagers have ten spacecraft instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) ultraviolet spectrometer; 3) infrared spectrometer; 4) planetary radio astronomy experiment; 5) photopolarimeter; 6) magnetometers; 7) plasma particles experiment; 8) low-energy charged-particles experiment; 9) plasma waves experiment and 10) cosmic-ray telescope.
- $875 million dollars was spent on the construction, launch and operations of the two Voyager spacecrafts.
- It was with Voyager 1 and 2's photos, that scientists discovered that Jupiter's Great Red Spot was actually a complex storm and that Io -one of Jupiter's moons- has active volcanoes.
- They studied the atmosphere of Titan, one of Saturn's moons, and believing it to be similar Earth's ancient environment.
- It was also learnt by the Voyagers that Saturn's rings are made from particles that have broken off from comets and meteors.
- Voyager 1 discovered Io has extremely active volcanoes.
- Thebe and Metis, moons of Jupiter were discovered by the Voyager.
- The photopolarimeter (one of ten instruments) on the Voyager 1 failed.
Photos taken by Voyager 1
Voyager II is the only spacecraft that has visited Uranus and Neptune. At first Voyager 2 was only initially going to fly by Jupiter and Saturn. It was later changed in 1981, for the Voyager to also fly past Uranus and Neptune.
After Voyager 2 visited the four planets, it began to explore interstellar space.
When flying by Uranus, Voyager 2 discovered 10 new moons, 2 new rings and a magnetic field that is stronger than Saturn's.
The rare alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, made it possible for Voyager 2 to visit them over a 12 year period instead of 30.
- Voyager 1's discover of Io's volcanoes prompted a ten hour watch for Voyager 2 but approached the moon no more than a million kilometres to the surface.
- Voyager 2 flew by Jupiter in July 1979
- In August 1981, the Voyager flew by Saturn.
- On January 24, Voyager 2 became within 81,500 kilometres of Uranus.
- The Voyager passed Neptune in August 1989.
- Voyager 2 discovered that Neptune has the strongest winds and its Great Dark Spot is actually a hole in it's atmosphere in it's flyby of the planet.
*Photo below taken by Voyager 2 in it's farewell of Uranus.*
False-color composite of Uranus shows discrete cloud. January 14, 1986. Range, 8.0 million miles.
OUTERMOST RING OF URANUS
True-color (left) and false-color views of Uranus. January 17, 1986. Range 5.7 million miles.
The disk contains greetings in 60 different languages, samples of music from different eras and cultures, natural and man-made noises and electronic data from earth that a technological advanced civilization can be convert into diagrams and photographs.
KEY DATES; VOYAGER I
September 5 1977: Launch
March 5 1979: Jupiter Flyby
November 12 1980: Saturn Flyby
February 17 1998: Became Most Distant Human-made Object
August 16 2006: 100 Astronomical Units Reached
KEY DATES; VOYAGER 2
August 20 1977: Launch
July 9 1979: Jupiter Flyby
August 26 1981: Saturn Flyby
January 24 1986: Uranus Flyby
August 25 1989: Neptune Flyby
*Launch of Voyager 2*