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Voyager 1
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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.

During the Jupiter leg of its journey, Voyager 1 was to explore the giant planet, its magnetosphere and moons in greater detail than the Pioneer spacecraft that preceded it. Voyager 1 was not only to study Jupiter, but to use it as a springboard to Saturn, using the gravity-assist technique.

Accomplishments: Voyager 1 succeeded on all counts, with the single exception of experiments using its photopolarimeter, which failed to operate. Jupiter's atmosphere was found to be more active than during the visits of Pioneer 10 and 11, sparking a rethinking of the earlier atmospheric models which could not explain the new features. The spacecraft imaged the moons Amalthea, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, showing details of their terrain for the first time.

Possibly the most stunning of Voyager 1's discoveries was that Io has extremely active volcanoes, powered by heat generated by the stretching and relaxing the moon endures every 42 hours as its elliptical orbit brings it closer to and then farther from Jupiter. This finding revolutionized scientists' concept of the moons of the outer planets. The spacecraft also discovered a thin ring around the planet (then making it the second planet known to have a ring), and two new moons: Thebe and Metis.

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