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Space & Astronomy

Voyager 1 and 2 still going strong 40 years on

By T.K. Randall
August 1, 2017 · Comment icon 17 comments

Where no man-made object has gone before. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This month marks four decades since NASA's two pioneering spacecraft headed off to visit the gas giants.
Launched in 1977, both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have traveled further from the Earth than any other man-made object in history and remain fully operational despite 40 years of traveling through space.

Their original mission to visit the four gas giants was made possible by a rare planetary configuration that happens only once every 175 years - an opportunity that NASA couldn't afford to miss.
In addition to revealing these enormous worlds in more detail than anyone had ever seen before, the two probes returned a wealth of data, not just about the planets, but also about their moons.

"I believe that few missions can ever match the achievements of the Voyager spacecraft during their four decades of exploration," said Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"They have educated us to the unknown wonders of the universe and truly inspired humanity to continue to explore our solar system and beyond."

Source: | Comments (17)

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Comment icon #8 Posted by bmk1245 7 years ago
Add to what merc said, positions of Pioneers and Voyagers.   Edit: I hope no one saw my blunder...
Comment icon #9 Posted by Noxasa 7 years ago
The chance that they'll ever be seen by some other alien race out there is slim to none.  The chance that they'll be seen by a future human generation that seeks them out to put them in a museum is probably a million times higher.  The chance that the human race will survive long enough to see the latter is sadly, very slim.  LOL...perspective...
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Who said they don't make them like they used to.  As long as we here from them, we will always be learning and not worrying about V'ger
Comment icon #11 Posted by DingoLingo 7 years ago
no.. all we receive from them is basically status updates.. like 'I'm still here and working'.. the power output is so low that a burning match releases more energy then the signal from them.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
Actually they are still transmitting some data for a few instruments and the research teams are gathering data on the interstellar medium from Voyager 1.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
It has left the solar system and entered interstellar space as defined by the heliopause. This is the point at which the influence of the sun in terms of emitted particles (the heliosphere) is equal to particles arriving fro interstellar space. Beyond the heliopause the influence of the interstellar medium is greater than that of the sun... interstellar space. This occurred for Voyager one when it was about 121 astronomical units (au) from the sun. However things aren't that simple, There is more than one way to define the edge of the solar system. The sun's gravitational influence extends far... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Hammerclaw 7 years ago
Yes and as recently as 70,000 thousand years ago, another star passed through the Oort cloud.                                                                                                   
Comment icon #15 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot 7 years ago
It was very fun to see data about solar winds interaction with interstellar winds ( when news were released ). Just amazing for such an old probe and it's expected to send data back to the Earth till 2025. Fingers crossed.
Comment icon #16 Posted by DingoLingo 7 years ago
still going strong as it they are still working, but are now on limited power.. the power cells should be depleted by about 2025 they are saying.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
Most of the instruments have not failed, they have been switched off because they are of no further use (for example why keep the cameras powered up when there is nothing for them to see?) Several instruments are still left running since they return useful information about the interstellar medium. The weakness in the signal received on Earth, that DingoLingo referred to, is partly due to the reduction in power output of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) but mostly due to distance. Signal strength diminishes with distance according to an inverse square law. If you double the ... [More]

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