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NO OTHER OBJECTS HAVE VENTURED THIS FAR FROM HOME
- The primary mission of Voyager was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there — such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings — the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers’ current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain. And beyond.
- The Voyager 1 & 2 spacecrafts will be the third and fourth human spacecrafts to fly beyond all the planets in our solar system. Pioneers 10 and 11 preceded Voyager in outstripping the gravitational attraction of the Sun but on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1 passed Pioneer 10 to become the most distant human-made object in space.
- As of June 8, 2014 Voyager 1 is 19 BILLION km away from Earth while Voyager 2 is 15.6 BILLION km away
- Both Voyager spacecrafts carry a greeting to any form of life, should that be encountered. The message is carried by a phonograph record - a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds.
- 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.
- NASA’s Voyager 1 became humankind’s most distant spacecraft on Aug. 25, 2012 when scientists believe it entered interstellar space, or the space between stars. Much of interstellar space is actually inside our solar system. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 1 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly about 30,000 years to fly beyond it.
- Alpha Centauri is currently the closest star to our solar system. But, in 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will be closer to the star AC +79 3888 than to our own sun. AC +79 3888 is actually traveling faster toward Voyager 1 than the spacecraft is traveling toward it.
- Barring any serious spacecraft subsystem failures, the Voyagers may survive until the early twenty-first century (~ 2025), when diminishing power and hydrazine levels will prevent further operation.
WHERE ARE THE VOYAGERS RIGHT NOW?