The Twin Voyager spacecraft were launched 35 years ago in 1977 with the mission of exploring Jupiter and Saturn. By 1980 this mission was complete so the twins were disbanded and given separate Voyages. Voyager 2 went on to study Uranus and Neptune. Leaving Voyager 1 to venture forth into deep space. Here’s 3 things you probably didn’t know about Voyager 1.
1. I’ts the first Man Made Object to Leave the Solar System
By 2012 Voyager 1 was estimated to be more than 18 Billion Km away from Earth. It was at this point in the heliosheath, the outer level of the solar system. It was predicted to reach interstellar space by 2015 but in August 2012 it was confirmed that the spacecraft had left this heliosheath, a huge bubble of charged particles, and is now cruising through interstellar space at 61,000Km per hour
2. It is Still Recording and Sending Back Data
The primary mission of Voyager was to explore Jupiter and Saturn. This was completed a mere 3 years after it set off and most people forgot it was still out there. It is very much still giving us vital information about space. With 6 out of its 11 original instruments still working. In march 2011, NASA re-positioned for first time in 20 years to better study charged particles in deep space, 3 months later NASA said this suggested the composition of the edge of the solar system which they named the heliosheath.
3. It Still Has Between 5-20 Years Left
Powered by natural decay of plutonium 328, voyager will have enough power to continue working until at least 2020. NASA will turn its machines off in 2025 but it will still float around space for any other life forms who may wish to observe the ‘golden record’ which contains as much information about our planet we could cram in. Lets hope Aliens have record players…