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Voyager 1
Voyager 1 Mission to Jupiter Voyager 1 Mission to Saturn Voyager 1 Mission to Our Solar System Voyager 1 Mission to Beyond Our Solar System

Goals: Voyager 1 and 2 were designed to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment to explore the outer solar system. Voyager 1 targeted Jupiter and Saturn before continuing on to chart the far edges of our solar system.

Voyager 1 was to become the second spacecraft to visit Saturn. Its mission there was to explore the planet and its rings, moons, and magnetic field in greater detail than was possible for its predecessor, Pioneer 11.

Accomplishments: Voyager 1 met all of its goals except for the experiments planned for its photopolarimeter, which failed to operate. The spacecraft found three new moons: Prometheus and Pandora, the "shepherding" moons that keep the F ring well-defined, and Atlas which similarly shepherds the A ring. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, was found to have a thick atmosphere which hides its surface from visible-light cameras and telescopes. Spacecraft instruments showed it to be mostly nitrogen, like Earth's atmosphere, but with a surface pressure 1.6 times as high as ours.

The spacecraft also imaged the moons Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, and Rhea; revealed the fine structures of Saturn's complex and beautiful ring system; and added the G ring to the list of known rings.

Just as it used Jupiter's gravity to help it reach Saturn, Voyager 1 used a gravity assist at Saturn to alter its course and increase its speed, giving it a trajectory to take it out of the solar system. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in August 2012.

   

Key Dates
5 Sep 1977:  Launch (12:56:01 UT)
Apr 1978:  Jovian Imaging Mission Begins (265 million km from the planet)
5 Mar 1979:  Jupiter Flyby
12 Nov 1980:  Saturn Flyby
17 Feb 1998:  Became Most Distant Human-made Object
16 Aug 2006:  100 Astronomical Units Reached
Aug 2012:  Voyager 1 Enters Interstellar Space
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
Voyager 1 Facts Voyager 1 is speeding along at about 57,600 kph (35,790 mph) -- fast enough to travel from the Earth to the sun three and a half times in one year.

Both Voyagers carry a gold record "greeting to the universe" (right) containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.

Voyager 1 is escaping the solar system at a speed of about 523.6 million km per year, or about 1.4 million km per day and is now in interstellar space (as of Aug. 2012).

Even at this tremendous speed, Voyager 1 will take at least 14,000 years (and maybe twice that or even longer) to emerge from the Oort cloud.

Did you know that the record is a 30-cm gold-plated copper disc? Together with a needle and playing instructions, it is mounted on the body casing and on it are recorded natural Earth sounds, 90 min of music, 115 pictures, and greetings in 60 languages.
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Last Updated: 31 Mar 2014