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Voyager Probes Logged Record 45 Years in Space

Voyager

Twin deep space probes Voyager 1 and 2 were launched all the way back in 1977. They’re celebrating a record breaking 45 years in space, becoming “NASA’s longest-operating mission and the only spacecraft ever to explore interstellar space.” They took some stunning snapshots on the way out.

Voyager probes still cruising along

The voyager craft were the first to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Both of them are now out of our system completely and hurtling through the interstellar void.

Jupiter

They left the “protective heliosphere created by our Sun” long ago. They have been traveling for longer than most of the researchers crunching their data have been alive.

Because nobody knows if some alien race might stumble across one of the two voyager models, they were decked out as messages from Humanity. They were the height of 1997 technology fashion, too.

voyager
Saturn

They each carry an eight-track tape player for recording data, they transmit data about 38,000 times slower than a 5G internet connection, and they have about 3 million times less memory than modern cellphones.

Despite their low tech by today standards, the voyager probes “remain on the cutting edge of space exploration.

Uranus

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California keeps track of what they are up to. For one thing, they’re doing studies on our nearest star, Sol, from a different perspective.

Invaluable solar insights

According to Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, the “heliophysics mission fleet provides invaluable insights into our Sun, from understanding the corona or the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere, to examining the Sun’s impacts throughout the solar system, including here on Earth, in our atmosphere, and on into interstellar space.

voyager
Neptune

She’s proud to announce that “over the last 45 years, the Voyager missions have been integral in providing this knowledge and have helped change our understanding of the Sun and its influence in ways no other spacecraft can.

As “ambassadors for humanity” each voyager craft carries “a golden record containing images of life on Earth, diagrams of basic scientific principles, and audio that includes sounds from nature, greetings in multiple languages, and music.” We all hope that whoever finds humanity’s “message in a bottle” turns out to be friendly.

voyager
Beyond the Heliosphere

We don’t want to invite them to lunch and turn out to be the main course. The reason the records were gold is because “at the rate gold decays in space and is eroded by cosmic radiation, the records will last more than a billion years.

Both of the two voyager missions made a swing by Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1 won the race both times, but the fix was in. The math wouldn’t have any other outcome. Voyager 2 earned distinction by becoming “the first and only spacecraft to fly close to Uranus (in 1986) and Neptune (in 1989), offering humanity remarkable views of – and insights into – these distant worlds.

voyager
A solid gold message from Humanity to anyone who might be out there.

The first of the probes kept on trucking out into the interstellar void and “discovered that the heliosphere blocks 70% of cosmic rays” as soon as it hit the edge of our system.

What do you think?

Written by Staff Editor

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