Above: What Lies Beyond The Edge Of Our Solar System?
The Voyager space probes have gone further into the unknown than any other spacecraft. With both probes officially in interstellar space, what have we learned?
In 1965, a PhD student figured out that every 176 years the four planets in our solar system align in such a unique way that it is possible to use their gravitational forces to slingshot from one planet to the next.
This insight, that came to fruition using just a slide rule and simple computer programs, became part of an ambitious mission to send two probes and golden records out into space for a grand tour.
Enter: The Voyagers.
The Voyager probes are two obscure looking robots, weighing roughly 800 kilograms with giant arms and big ears, it took 1,500 engineers and scientists to bring these robotic explorers to life.
The Voyagers took some of the first detailed snapshots of planets and moons – revealing Io’s volcanism, close-up details of Saturn’s icy rings, and Neptune’s great dark spot.
After traveling for more than 43 years, clocking in 18 billion kilometers traveled, the Voyagers are taking humanity into the next great beyond: interstellar space.
With the opportunity to visit Uranus and Neptune, the NASA engineers developed a mission within a mission, outfitting the probes with 11 different instruments, redundant systems, and autonomous controls.
Find out more about the Voyager mission, what we’ve learned so far, and the experts behind these remarkable achievements.