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Voyager
Voyager
2 is a space probe launched by NASA
NASA
on August 20, 1977, to study the outer planets. Part of the Voyager
Voyager
program, it was launched 16 days before its twin, Voyager
Voyager
1, on a trajectory that took longer to reach Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn
Saturn
but enabled further encounters with Uranus and Neptune.[4] It is the only spacecraft to have visited either of the ice giants. Its primary mission ended with the exploration of the Neptunian system on October 2, 1989, after having visited the Uranian system
Uranian system
in 1986, the Saturnian system
Saturnian system
in 1981, and the Jovian system
Jovian system
in 1979. Voyager
Voyager
2 is now in its extended mission to study the outer reaches of the Solar System and has been operating for 40 years, 7 months and 17 days as of April 6, 2018. It remains in contact through the Deep Space Network.[5] At a distance of 117 AU (1.75×1010 km) from the Sun
Sun
as of March 17, 2018,[6] Voyager
Voyager
2 is the fourth of five spacecraft to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. The probe was moving at a velocity of 15.4 km/s (55,000 km/h) relative to the Sun
Sun
as of December 2014 and is traveling through the heliosheath.[6][7] Upon reaching interstellar space, Voyager
Voyager
2 is expected to provide the first direct measurements of the density and temperature of the interstellar plasma.[8]

Contents

1 Mission History

1.1 History 1.2 Spacecraft design

1.2.1 Communications 1.2.2 Power 1.2.3 Scientific instruments

2 Mission profile 3 Launch and trajectory

3.1 Encounter with Jupiter 3.2 Encounter with Saturn 3.3 Encounter with Uranus 3.4 Encounter with Neptune

4 Interstellar mission 5 Future of the probe 6 Golden record 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Mission History[edit] History[edit] In the early space age, it was realized that a coincidental alignment of the outer planets would occur in the late 1970s and enable a single probe to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
Neptune
by taking advantage of the then-new technique of gravity assists. NASA
NASA
began work on a Grand Tour, which evolved into a massive project involving two groups of two probes each, with one group visiting Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto
Pluto
and the other Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. The spacecraft would be designed with redundant systems to ensure survival through the entire tour. By 1972 the mission was scaled back and replaced with two Mariner-derived spacecraft, the Mariner Jupiter- Saturn
Saturn
probes. To keep apparent lifetime program costs low, the mission would include only flybys of Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn, but keep the Grand Tour option open.[4]:263 As the program progressed, the name was changed to Voyager.[9] The primary mission of Voyager 1
Voyager 1
was to explore Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn's moon, Titan. Voyager
Voyager
2 was also to explore Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn, but on a trajectory that would have option of continuing on to Uranus
Uranus
and Neptune, or being redirected to Titan as a backup for Voyager
Voyager
1. Upon successful completion of Voyager
Voyager
1's objectives, Voyager
Voyager
2 would get a mission extension to send the probe on towards Uranus
Uranus
and Neptune.[4] Spacecraft design[edit] Constructed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL), Voyager
Voyager
2 included 16 hydrazine thrusters, three-axis stabilization, gyroscopes and celestial referencing instruments ( Sun
Sun
sensor/ Canopus
Canopus
Star Tracker) to maintain pointing of the high-gain antenna toward Earth. Collectively these instruments are part of the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) along with redundant units of most instruments and 8 backup thrusters. The spacecraft also included 11 scientific instruments to study celestial objects as it traveled through space.[10] Communications[edit] Built with the intent for eventual interstellar travel, Voyager
Voyager
2 included a large, 3.7 m (12 ft) parabolic, high-gain antenna (see diagram) to transceive data via the Deep Space Network
Deep Space Network
on the Earth. Communications are conducted over the S-band
S-band
(about 13 cm wavelength) and X-band
X-band
(about 3.6 cm wavelength) providing data rates as high as 115.2 kilobits per second at the distance of Jupiter, and then ever-decreasing as the distance increased, because of the inverse-square law. When the spacecraft is unable to communicate with Earth, the Digital Tape Recorder (DTR) can record about 64 kilobytes of data for transmission at another time.[11] Power[edit] The spacecraft was equipped with 3 Multihundred-Watt radioisotope thermoelectric generators (MHW RTG). Each RTG includes 24 pressed plutonium oxide spheres, and provided enough heat to generate approximately 157 W of electrical power at launch. Collectively, the RTGs supplied the spacecraft with 470 watts at launch, and will allow operations to continue until at least 2020.[10][12][13]

RTG Inner Heat Source

RTG Assembly

RTG unit

Scientific instruments[edit] Main article: Voyager
Voyager
program

Instrument Name Abr. Description

Imaging Science System (disabled) (ISS) Utilizes a two-camera system (narrow-angle/wide-angle) to provide imagery of Jupiter, Saturn
Saturn
and other objects along the trajectory. More

Filters

Narrow Angle Camera Filters[14]

Name Wavelength Spectrum Sensitivity

Clear 280 nm – 640 nm

UV 280 nm – 370 nm

Violet 350 nm – 450 nm

Blue 430 nm – 530 nm

' '

'

Green 530 nm – 640 nm

' '

'

Orange 590 nm – 640 nm

' '

'

Wide Angle Camera Filters[15]

Name Wavelength Spectrum Sensitivity

Clear 280 nm – 640 nm

' '

'

Violet 350 nm – 450 nm

Blue 430 nm – 530 nm

CH4-U 536 nm – 546 nm

Green 530 nm – 640 nm

Na-D 588 nm – 590 nm

Orange 590 nm – 640 nm

CH4-JST 614 nm – 624 nm

Principal investigator: Bradford Smith / University of Arizona (PDS/PRN website) Data: PDS/PDI data catalog[dead link], PDS/PRN data catalog

Radio Science System (disabled) (RSS) Utilized the telecommunications system of the Voyager
Voyager
spacecraft to determine the physical properties of planets and satellites (ionospheres, atmospheres, masses, gravity fields, densities) and the amount and size distribution of material in Saturn's rings
Saturn's rings
and the ring dimensions. More

Principal investigator: G. Tyler / Stanford University PDS/PRN overview Data: PDS/PPI data catalog, PDS/PRN data catalog (VG_2803), NSSDC Saturn
Saturn
data archive

Infrared Interferometer
Interferometer
Spectrometer (disabled) (IRIS) Investigates both global and local energy balance and atmospheric composition. Vertical temperature profiles are also obtained from the planets and satellites as well as the composition, thermal properties, and size of particles in Saturn's rings. More

Principal investigator: Rudolf Hanel / NASA
NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center (PDS/PRN website) Data: PDS/PRN data catalog, PDS/PRN expanded data catalog (VGIRIS_0001, VGIRIS_002)

Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Spectrometer (disabled) (UVS) Designed to measure atmospheric properties, and to measure radiation. More

Principal investigator: A. Broadfoot / University of Southern California (PDS/PRN website) Data: PDS/PRN data catalog

Triaxial Fluxgate Magnetometer (active) (MAG) Designed to investigate the magnetic fields of Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn, the solar-wind interaction with the magnetospheres of these planets, and the interplanetary magnetic field out to the solar wind boundary with the interstellar magnetic field and beyond, if crossed. More

Principal investigator: Norman Ness / NASA
NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center (website) Data: PDS/PPI data catalog, NSSDC data archive

Plasma Spectrometer (active) (PLS) Investigates the macroscopic properties of the plasma ions and measures electrons in the energy range from 5 eV to 1 keV. More

Principal investigator: John Richardson / MIT (website) Data: PDS/PPI data catalog, NSSDC data archive

Low Energy Charged Particle Instrument (active) (LECP) Measures the differential in energy fluxes and angular distributions of ions, electrons and the differential in energy ion composition. More

Principal investigator: Stamatios Krimigis
Stamatios Krimigis
/ JHU/APL / University of Maryland (JHU/APL website / UMD website / KU website) Data: UMD data plotting, PDS/PPI data catalog, NSSDC data archive

Cosmic Ray System (active) (CRS) Determines the origin and acceleration process, life history, and dynamic contribution of interstellar cosmic rays, the nucleosynthesis of elements in cosmic-ray sources, the behavior of cosmic rays in the interplanetary medium, and the trapped planetary energetic-particle environment. More

Principal investigator: Edward Stone / Caltech / NASA
NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center (website) Data: NSSDC data archive

Planetary Radio Astronomy
Radio Astronomy
Investigation (disabled) (PRA) Utilizes a sweep-frequency radio receiver to study the radio-emission signals from Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn. More Voyager: Sounds Of The Cosmos, the Album made from Voyager's PRA Instrument Recordings

Principal investigator: James Warwick / University of Colorado Data: PDS/PPI data catalog

Photopolarimeter System (disabled) (PPS) Utilized a telescope with a polarizer to gather information on surface texture and composition of Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn
Saturn
and information on atmospheric scattering properties and density for both planets. More

Principal investigator: Arthur Lane / JPL (PDS/PRN website) Data: PDS/PRN data catalog

Plasma Wave System (partially disabled) (PWS) Provides continuous, sheath-independent measurements of the electron-density profiles at Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn
Saturn
as well as basic information on local wave-particle interaction, useful in studying the magnetospheres. More

Principal investigator: Donald Gurnett / University of Iowa (website) Data: PDS/PPI data catalog

For more details on the Voyager
Voyager
space probes' identical instrument packages, see the separate article on the overall Voyager
Voyager
Program.

Images of the spacecraft

Voyager
Voyager
spacecraft diagram. 

Voyager
Voyager
in transport to a solar thermal test chamber. 

Voyager
Voyager
2 awaiting payload entry into a Titan IIIE/Centaur rocket. 

Media related to the Voyager
Voyager
spacecraft at Wikimedia Commons

Mission profile[edit]

Voyager
Voyager
2's trajectory from the earth, following the ecliptic through 1989 at Neptune
Neptune
and now heading south into the constellation Pavo

Timeline of travel

Date Event

1977-08-20 Spacecraft launched at 14:29:00 UTC.

1977-12-10 Entered asteroid belt.

1977-12-19 Voyager 1
Voyager 1
overtakes Voyager
Voyager
2. (see diagram)

1978-06 Primary radio receiver fails. Remainder of mission flown using backup.

1978-10-21 Exited asteroid belt

1979-04-25 Start Jupiter
Jupiter
observation phase

Time Event

1979-07-08 Encounter with Jovian system.

0012:21 Callisto flyby at 214,930 km.

1979-07-09

0007:14 Ganymede flyby at 62,130 km.

0017:53 Europa flyby at 205,720 km.

0020:01 Amalthea flyby at 558,370 km.

0022:29 Jupiter
Jupiter
closest approach at 721,670 km from the center of mass.

0023:17 Io flyby at 1,129,900 km.

1979-08-05 Phase Stop

1981-06-05 Start Saturn
Saturn
observation phase.

Time Event

1981-08-22 Encounter with Saturnian system.

0001:26:57 Iapetus flyby at 908,680 km.

1981-08-25

0001:25:26 Hyperion flyby at 431,370 km.

0009:37:46 Titan flyby at 666,190 km.

0022:57:33 Helene flyby at 314,090 km.

1981-08-26

0001:04:32 Dione flyby at 502,310 km.

0002:22:17 Calypso flyby at 151,590 km.

0002:24:26 Mimas flyby at 309,930 km.

0003:19:18 Pandora flyby at 107,000 km.

0003:24:05 Saturn
Saturn
closest approach at 161,000 km from the center of mass.

0003:33:02 Atlas 287,000 km.

0003:45:16 Enceladus
Enceladus
flyby at 87,010 km.

0003:50:04 Janus at 223,000 km.

0004:05:56 Epimetheus at 147,000 km.

0006:02:47 Telesto at 270,000 km.

0006:12:30 Tethys flyby at 93,010 km.

0006:28:48 Rhea flyby at 645,260 km.

1981-09-04

0001:22:34 Phoebe flyby at 2,075,640 km.

1981-09-25 Phase Stop

1985-11-04 Start Uranus
Uranus
observation phase.

Time Event

1986-01-24 Encounter with Uranian system.

0016:50 Miranda flyby at 29,000 km.

0017:25 Ariel flyby at 127,000 km.

0017:25 Umbriel flyby at 325,000 km.

0017:25 Titania flyby at 365,200 km.

0017:25 Oberon flyby at 470,600 km.

0017:59:47 Uranus
Uranus
closest approach at 107,000 km from the center of mass.

1986-02-25 Phase Stop

1987-08-20 10 years of continuous flight and operation at 14:29:00 UTC.

1989-06-05 Start Neptune
Neptune
observation phase.

Time Event

1989-08-25 Encounter with Neptunian system.

0003:56:36 Neptune
Neptune
closest approach at 4,950 km.

0004:51 Larissa flyby at 60,180 km.

0005:29 Proteus flyby at 97,860 km.

0009:23 Triton flyby at 39,800 km.

1989-10-02 Phase Stop

1989-10-02 Begin Voyager
Voyager
Interstellar Mission.

Interstellar phase[16][17][18]

1997-08-20 20 years of continuous flight and operation at 14:29:00 UTC.

1998-11-13 Terminate scan platform and UV observations.

2007-08-20 30 years of continuous flight and operation at 14:29:00 UTC.

2007-09-06 Terminate data tape recorder operations.

2008-02-22 Terminate planetary radio astronomy experiment operations.

2011-11-07 Switch to backup thrusters to conserve power[19]

2017-08-20 40 years of continuous flight and operation at 14:29:00 UTC.

Launch and trajectory[edit] The Voyager
Voyager
2 probe was launched on August 20, 1977, by NASA
NASA
from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan IIIE/Centaur launch vehicle. Two weeks later, the twin Voyager 1
Voyager 1
probe would be launched on September 5, 1977. However, Voyager 1
Voyager 1
would reach both Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn
Saturn
sooner, as Voyager
Voyager
2 had been launched into a longer, more circular trajectory.

Voyager
Voyager
2 launch on August 20, 1977 with a Titan IIIE/Centaur.

Trajectory of Voyager
Voyager
2 primary mission.

Plot of Voyager
Voyager
2's heliocentric velocity against its distance from the Sun, illustrating the use of gravity assists to accelerate the spacecraft by Jupiter, Saturn
Saturn
and Uranus. To observe Triton, Voyager
Voyager
2 passed over Neptune's north pole, resulting in an acceleration out of the plane of the ecliptic, and, as a result, a reduced velocity relative to the Sun.[20]

Encounter with Jupiter[edit] Main article: Exploration of Jupiter

The trajectory of Voyager
Voyager
2 through the Jupiter
Jupiter
system

Voyager
Voyager
2's closest approach to Jupiter
Jupiter
occurred on July 9, 1979. It came within 570,000 km (350,000 mi) of the planet's cloud tops.[21] It discovered a few rings around Jupiter, as well as volcanic activity on the moon Io. The Great Red Spot
Great Red Spot
was revealed as a complex storm moving in a counterclockwise direction. An array of other smaller storms and eddies were found throughout the banded clouds. Discovery of active volcanism on Io was easily the greatest unexpected discovery at Jupiter. It was the first time active volcanoes had been seen on another body in the Solar System. Together, the Voyagers observed the eruption of nine volcanoes on Io, and there is evidence that other eruptions occurred between the two Voyager
Voyager
fly-bys. The moon Europa displayed a large number of intersecting linear features in the low-resolution photos from Voyager
Voyager
1. At first, scientists believed the features might be deep cracks, caused by crustal rifting or tectonic processes. The closer high-resolution photos from Voyager
Voyager
2, however, left scientists puzzled: The features were so lacking in topographic relief that as one scientist described them, they "might have been painted on with a felt marker." Europa is internally active due to tidal heating at a level about one-tenth that of Io. Europa is thought to have a thin crust (less than 30 km (19 mi) thick) of water ice, possibly floating on a 50-kilometer-deep (30 mile) ocean. Two new, small satellites, Adrastea and Metis, were found orbiting just outside the ring. A third new satellite, Thebe, was discovered between the orbits of Amalthea and Io.

The Great Red Spot
Great Red Spot
photographed during the Voyager
Voyager
2 flyby of Jupiter. 

A transit of Io across Jupiter, July 9, 1979. 

Eruption of a volcano on Io, photographed by Voyager
Voyager
2. 

A color mosaic of Europa. 

A color mosaic of Ganymede. 

Callisto photographed at a distance of 1 million kilometers. 

One faint ring of Jupiter
Jupiter
photographed during the flyby. 

Atmospheric eruptive event on Jupiter. 

Media related to the Voyager
Voyager
2 Jupiter
Jupiter
encounter at Wikimedia Commons

Encounter with Saturn[edit] Main article: Exploration of Saturn The closest approach to Saturn
Saturn
occurred on August 26, 1981.[22] While passing behind Saturn
Saturn
(as viewed from Earth), Voyager
Voyager
2 probed Saturn's upper atmosphere with its radio link to gather information on atmospheric temperature and density profiles. Voyager
Voyager
2 found that at the uppermost pressure levels (seven kilopascals of pressure), Saturn's temperature was 70 kelvins (−203 °C), while at the deepest levels measured (120 kilopascals) the temperature increased to 143 K (−130 °C). The north pole was found to be 10 kelvins cooler, although this may be seasonal (see also Saturn Oppositions). After the fly-by of Saturn, the camera platform of Voyager
Voyager
2 locked up briefly, putting plans to officially extend the mission to Uranus
Uranus
and Neptune
Neptune
in jeopardy. The mission's engineers were able to fix the problem (caused by an overuse that temporarily depleted its lubricant), and the Voyager
Voyager
2 probe was given the go-ahead to explore the Uranian system.

Voyager
Voyager
2 Saturn
Saturn
approach view. 

North, polar region of Saturn
Saturn
imaged in orange and UV filters. 

Color image of Enceladus
Enceladus
showing terrain of widely varying ages. 

Cratered surface of Tethys at 594,000 km. 

Atmosphere of Titan imaged from 2.3 million km. 

Titan occultation of the Sun
Sun
from 0.9 million km. 

Two-toned Iapetus, August 22, 1981. 

"Spoke" features observed in the rings of Saturn. 

Media related to the Voyager
Voyager
2 Saturn
Saturn
encounter at Wikimedia Commons

Encounter with Uranus[edit]

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Main article: Exploration of Uranus The closest approach to Uranus
Uranus
occurred on January 24, 1986, when Voyager
Voyager
2 came within 81,500 kilometers (50,600 mi) of the planet's cloud tops. Voyager
Voyager
2 also discovered the moons Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Belinda, Perdita and Puck; studied the planet's unique atmosphere, caused by its axial tilt of 97.8°; and examined the Uranian ring system. Uranus
Uranus
is the third largest ( Neptune
Neptune
has a larger mass, but a smaller volume) planet in the Solar System. It orbits the Sun
Sun
at a distance of about 2.8 billion kilometers (1.7 billion miles), and it completes one orbit every 84 Earth years. The length of a day on Uranus
Uranus
as measured by Voyager
Voyager
2 is 17 hours, 14 minutes. Uranus
Uranus
is unique among the planets in that its axial tilt is about 90°, meaning that its axis is roughly parallel with, not perpendicular to, the plane of the ecliptic. This extremely large tilt of its axis is thought to be the result of a collision between the accumulating planet Uranus
Uranus
with another planet-sized body early in the history of the Solar System. Given the unusual orientation of its axis, with the polar regions of Uranus
Uranus
exposed for periods of many years to either continuous sunlight or darkness, planetary scientists were not at all sure what to expect when observing Uranus. Voyager
Voyager
2 found that one of the most striking effects of the sideways orientation of Uranus
Uranus
is the effect on the tail of the planetary magnetic field. This is itself tilted about 60° from the Uranian axis of rotation. The planet's magneto tail was shown to be twisted by the rotation of Uranus
Uranus
into a long corkscrew shape following the planet. The presence of a significant magnetic field for Uranus
Uranus
was not at all known until Voyager
Voyager
2's arrival. The radiation belts of Uranus
Uranus
were found to be of an intensity similar to those of Saturn. The intensity of radiation within the Uranian belts is such that irradiation would "quickly" darken — within 100,000 years — any methane that is trapped in the icy surfaces of the inner moons and ring particles. This kind of darkening might have contributed to the darkened surfaces of the moons and the ring particles, which are almost uniformly dark gray in color. A high layer of haze was detected around the sunlit pole of Uranus. This area was also found to radiate large amounts of ultraviolet light, a phenomenon that is called "dayglow." The average atmospheric temperature is about 60 K (−350°F/−213°C). Surprisingly, the illuminated and dark poles, and most of the planet, exhibit nearly the same temperatures at the cloud tops. The Uranian moon Miranda, the innermost of the five large moons, was discovered to be one of the strangest bodies yet seen in the Solar System. Detailed images from Voyager
Voyager
2's flyby of Miranda showed huge canyons made from geological faults as deep as 20 kilometers (12 mi), terraced layers, and a mixture of old and young surfaces. One hypothesis suggests that Miranda might consist of a reaggregation of material following an earlier event when Miranda was shattered into pieces by a violent impact. All nine of the previously known Uranian rings were studied by the instruments of Voyager
Voyager
2. These measurements showed that the Uranian rings are distinctly different from those at Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn. The Uranian ring system might be relatively young, and it did not form at the same time that Uranus
Uranus
did. The particles that make up the rings might be the remnants of a moon that was broken up by either a high-velocity impact or torn up by tidal effects.

Uranus
Uranus
as viewed by Voyager
Voyager

Departing image of crescent Uranus. 

Fractured surface of Miranda. 

Ariel as imaged from 130,000 km. 

Color composite of Titania from 500,000 km. 

Umbriel (moon)
Umbriel (moon)
imaged from 550,000 km. 

Oberon (computer generated image). 

The Rings of Uranus
Uranus
imaged by Voyager 2. 

Media related to the Voyager
Voyager
2 Uranus
Uranus
encounter at Wikimedia Commons

Encounter with Neptune[edit] Main article: Exploration of Neptune Following a mid-course correction in 1987, Voyager
Voyager
2's closest approach to Neptune
Neptune
occurred on August 25, 1989.[23][24][25] Because this was the last planet of the Solar System
Solar System
that Voyager
Voyager
2 could visit, the Chief Project Scientist, his staff members, and the flight controllers decided to also perform a close fly-by of Triton, the larger of Neptune's two originally known moons, so as to gather as much information on Neptune
Neptune
and Triton as possible, regardless of Voyager
Voyager
2's departure angle from the planet. This was just like the case of Voyager
Voyager
1's encounters with Saturn
Saturn
and its massive moon Titan. Through repeated computerized test simulations of trajectories through the Neptunian system
Neptunian system
conducted in advance, flight controllers determined the best way to route Voyager
Voyager
2 through the Neptune-Triton system. Since the plane of the orbit of Triton is tilted significantly with respect to the plane of the ecliptic, through mid-course corrections, Voyager
Voyager
2 was directed into a path about three thousand miles above the north pole of Neptune.[26] At that time, Triton was behind and below (south of) Neptune
Neptune
(at an angle of about 25 degrees below the ecliptic), close to the apoapsis of its elliptical orbit. The gravitational pull of Neptune
Neptune
bent the trajectory of Voyager
Voyager
2 down in the direction of Triton. In less than 24 hours, Voyager
Voyager
2 traversed the distance between Neptune
Neptune
and Triton, and then observed Triton's northern hemisphere as it passed over its north pole. The net and final effect on Voyager
Voyager
2 was to bend its trajectory south below the plane of the ecliptic by about 30 degrees. Voyager
Voyager
2 is on this path permanently, and hence, it is exploring space south of the plane of the ecliptic, measuring magnetic fields, charged particles, etc., there, and sending the measurements back to the Earth via telemetry. While in the neighborhood of Neptune, Voyager
Voyager
2 discovered the "Great Dark Spot", which has since disappeared, according to observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. Originally thought to be a large cloud itself, the "Great Dark Spot" was later hypothesized to be a hole in the visible cloud deck of Neptune. With the decision of the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
to reclassify Pluto
Pluto
as a "dwarf planet" in 2006, the flyby of Neptune
Neptune
by Voyager
Voyager
2 in 1989 became the point when every known planet in the Solar System
Solar System
had been visited at least once by a space probe.

Voyager
Voyager
2 image of Neptune. 

Neptune
Neptune
and Triton three days after Voyager
Voyager
2 flyby. 

Despina as imaged from Voyager
Voyager
2. 

Cratered surface of Larissa. 

Dark surface of Proteus. 

Color mosaic of Voyager
Voyager
2 Triton. 

Cirrus clouds
Cirrus clouds
imaged above gaseous Neptune. 

Rings of Neptune
Neptune
taken in occultation from 280,000 km. 

Media related to the Voyager
Voyager
2 Neptune
Neptune
encounter at Wikimedia Commons

Interstellar mission[edit] Once its planetary mission was over, Voyager
Voyager
2 was described as working on an interstellar mission, which NASA
NASA
is using to find out what the Solar System
Solar System
is like beyond the heliosphere. Voyager
Voyager
2 is currently transmitting scientific data at about 160 bits per second. Information about continuing telemetry exchanges with Voyager
Voyager
2 is available from Voyager
Voyager
Weekly Reports.[27]

Map showing location and trajectories of the Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager
Voyager
1, and Voyager
Voyager
2 spacecraft, as of April 4, 2007.

On November 29, 2006, a telemetered command to Voyager
Voyager
2 was incorrectly decoded by its on-board computer—in a random error—as a command to turn on the electrical heaters of the spacecraft's magnetometer. These heaters remained turned on until December 4, 2006, and during that time, there was a resulting high temperature above 130 °C (266 °F), significantly higher than the magnetometers were designed to endure, and a sensor rotated away from the correct orientation. As of this date it had not been possible to fully diagnose and correct for the damage caused to Voyager
Voyager
2's magnetometer, although efforts to do so were proceeding.[28] On August 30, 2007, Voyager
Voyager
2 passed the termination shock and then entered into the heliosheath, approximately 1 billion miles (1.6 billion km) closer to the Sun
Sun
than Voyager 1
Voyager 1
did.[29] This is due to the interstellar magnetic field of deep space. The southern hemisphere of the Solar System's heliosphere is being pushed in.[30] On April 22, 2010, Voyager
Voyager
2 encountered scientific data format problems.[31] On May 17, 2010, JPL engineers revealed that a flipped bit in an on-board computer had caused the issue, and scheduled a bit reset for May 19.[32] On May 23, 2010, Voyager
Voyager
2 resumed sending science data from deep space after engineers fixed the flipped bit.[33] Currently research is being made into marking the area of memory with the flipped bit off limits or disallowing its use. The Low-Energy Charged Particle Instrument is currently operational, and data from this instrument concerning charged particles is being transmitted to Earth. This data permits measurements of the heliosheath and termination shock. There has also been a modification to the on-board flight software to delay turning off the AP Branch 2 backup heater for one year. It was scheduled to go off February 2, 2011 (DOY 033, 2011–033).

Simulated view of the position of Voyager
Voyager
2 as of February 8, 2012 showing spacecraft trajectory since launch

On July 25, 2012, Voyager
Voyager
2 was traveling at 15.447 km/s relative to the Sun
Sun
at about 99.13 astronomical units (1.4830×1010 km) from the Sun,[6] at −55.29° declination and 19.888 h right ascension, and also at an ecliptic latitude of −34.0 degrees, placing it in the constellation Telescopium
Telescopium
as observed from Earth.[34] This location places it deep in the scattered disc, and traveling outward at roughly 3.264 AU per year. It is more than twice as far from the Sun
Sun
as Pluto, and far beyond the perihelion of 90377 Sedna, but not yet beyond the outer limits of the orbit of the dwarf planet Eris. On September 9, 2012, Voyager
Voyager
2 was 99.077 AU (1.48217×1010 km; 9.2098×109 mi) from the Earth and 99.504 AU (1.48856×1010 km; 9.2495×109 mi) from the Sun; and traveling at 15.436 km/s (34,530 mph) (relative to the Sun) and traveling outward at about 3.256 AU per year.[35] Sunlight takes 13.73 hours to get to Voyager
Voyager
2. The brightness of the Sun
Sun
from the spacecraft is magnitude -16.7.[35] Voyager
Voyager
2 is heading in the direction of the constellation Telescopium.[35] (To compare, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, is about 4.2 light-years (or 7016396434357355000♠2.65×105 AU) distant. Voyager
Voyager
2's current relative velocity to the Sun
Sun
is 15.436 km/s (55,570 km/h; 34,530 mph). This calculates as 3.254 AU per year, about 10% slower than Voyager
Voyager
1. At this velocity, 81,438 years would pass before Voyager
Voyager
2 reaches the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, were the spacecraft traveling in the direction of that star. ( Voyager
Voyager
2 will need about 19,390 years at its current velocity to travel a complete light year) On November 7, 2012, Voyager
Voyager
2 reached 100 AU from the sun, making it the third human-made object to reach 100 AU. Voyager 1
Voyager 1
was 122 AU from the Sun, and Pioneer 10
Pioneer 10
is presumed to be at 107 AU. While Pioneer has ceased communications, both the Voyager
Voyager
spacecraft are performing well and are still communicating.

The current position of Voyagers as of early 2013. Note the vast distances condensed into an exponential scale: Earth is 1 astronomical unit (AU) from the Sun; Saturn
Saturn
is at 9 AU, and the heliopause is at more than 100 AU. Neptune
Neptune
is 30.1 AU from the Sun; thus the edge of interstellar space is more than three times as far from the Sun
Sun
as the last planet.

In 2013 Voyager 1
Voyager 1
was escaping the solar system at a speed of about 3.6 AU per year, while Voyager
Voyager
2 was only escaping at 3.3 AU per year.[36] (Each year Voyager 1
Voyager 1
increases its lead over Voyager
Voyager
2) By March 17, 2018, Voyager
Voyager
2 was at a distance of 117 AU (1.75×1010 km) from the Sun.[6] There is a variation in distance from Earth caused by the Earth's revolution around the Sun
Sun
relative to Voyager
Voyager
2.[6] Future of the probe[edit] It was originally thought that Voyager
Voyager
2 would enter interstellar space in early 2016, with its plasma spectrometer providing the first direct measurements of the density and temperature of the interstellar plasma.[37] However, the spacecraft may instead reach interstellar space sometime in either late 2019 or early 2020, when it will reach a similar distance from the Sun
Sun
as Voyager 1
Voyager 1
did when it crossed into interstellar space back in 2012. Voyager
Voyager
2 is not headed toward any particular star, although in roughly 40,000 years it should pass 1.7 light-years from the star Ross 248.[38] And if undisturbed for 296,000 years, Voyager
Voyager
2 should pass by the star Sirius
Sirius
at a distance of 4.3 light-years. Voyager
Voyager
2 is expected to keep transmitting weak radio messages until at least 2025, over 48 years after it was launched.[39]

Year End of specific capabilities as a result of the available electrical power limitations[40]

1998 Termination of scan platform and UVS observations

2007 Termination of Digital Tape Recorder (DTR) operations (It was no longer needed due to a failure on the High Waveform Receiver on the Plasma Wave Subsystem (PWS) on June 30, 2002.[41])

2008 Power off Planetary Radio Astronomy
Radio Astronomy
Experiment (PRA)

2016 approx Termination of gyroscopic operations

2020 approx Initiate instrument power sharing

2025 or slightly afterwards Can no longer power any single instrument

Golden record[edit]

A child's greeting in English recorded on the Voyager
Voyager
Golden Record

Voyager
Voyager
Golden Record

Main article: Voyager
Voyager
Golden Record Each Voyager
Voyager
space probe carries a gold-plated audio-visual disc in the event that either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent life-forms from other planetary systems.[42] The discs carry photos of the Earth and its lifeforms, a range of scientific information, spoken greetings from the people (e.g. the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United States, and the children of the Planet Earth) and a medley, "Sounds of Earth", that includes the sounds of whales, a baby crying, waves breaking on a shore, and a collection of music, including works by Mozart, Blind Willie Johnson, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", Valya Balkanska
Valya Balkanska
and other Eastern and Western classics and ethnic performers.[43] (see also Music in space) See also[edit]

Spaceflight portal Solar System
Solar System
portal

Family Portrait List of artificial objects escaping from the Solar System List of missions to the outer planets New Horizons Pioneer 10 Pioneer 11 Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes Voyager
Voyager
1

References[edit]

^ "VOYAGER:Mission Information". NASA. 1989. Retrieved January 2, 2011.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
2". US National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 25 August 2013.  ^ "VOYAGER 2". N2YO. Retrieved 25 August 2013.  ^ a b c Butrica, Andrew. From Engineering Science to Big Science. p. 267. Retrieved 2015-09-04. Despite the name change, Voyager remained in many ways the Grand Tour concept, though certainly not the Grand Tour (TOPS) spacecraft. Voyager
Voyager
2 was launched on August 20, 1977, followed by Voyager 1
Voyager 1
on September 5, 1977. The decision to reverse the order of launch had to do with keeping open the possibility of carrying out the Grand Tour mission to Uranus, Neptune, and beyond. Voyager
Voyager
2, if boosted by the maximum performance from the Titan-Centaur, could just barely catch the old Grand Tour trajectory and encounter Uranus. Two weeks later, Voyager 1
Voyager 1
would leave on an easier and much faster trajectory, visiting Jupiter
Jupiter
and Saturn
Saturn
only. Voyager 1
Voyager 1
would arrive at Jupiter
Jupiter
four months ahead of Voyager
Voyager
2, then arrive at Saturn
Saturn
nine months earlier. Hence, the second spacecraft launched was Voyager
Voyager
1, not Voyager
Voyager
2. The two Voyagers would arrive at Saturn
Saturn
nine months apart, so that if Voyager 1
Voyager 1
failed to achieve its Saturn
Saturn
objectives, for whatever reason, Voyager
Voyager
2 still could be retargeted to achieve them, though at the expense of any subsequent Uranus
Uranus
or Neptune
Neptune
encounter.  ^ NASA
NASA
Voyager
Voyager
- The Interstellar Mission Mission Overview Archived 2011-05-02 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c d e Staff (September 9, 2012). "Where are the Voyagers?". NASA. Retrieved September 9, 2012.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
Mission: Weekly Reports of 26 December 2014".  ^ "At last, Voyager 1
Voyager 1
slips into interstellar space – Atom & Cosmos". Science News. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-09-17.  ^ Planetary Voyage NASA
NASA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
– California Institute of Technology. March 23, 2004. Retrieved April 8, 2007. ^ a b "VOYAGER 2:Host Information". NASA. 1989. Retrieved January 2, 2011.  ^ " NASA
NASA
News Press Kit 77-136". JPL/NASA. Retrieved December 15, 2014.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
2 Craft Details". NASA-NSSDC-Spacecraft-Details. NASA. Retrieved March 9, 2011.  ^ Furlong, Richard R.; Wahlquist, Earl J. (1999). "U.S. space missions using radioisotope power systems" (PDF). Nuclear News. 42 (4): 26–34. Retrieved January 2, 2011.  ^ NASA/JPL (August 26, 2003). " Voyager 1
Voyager 1
Narrow Angle Camera Description". NASA
NASA
/ PDS. Retrieved January 17, 2011.  ^ NASA/JPL (August 26, 2003). " Voyager 1
Voyager 1
Wide Angle Camera Description". NASA
NASA
/ PDS. Retrieved January 17, 2011.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
2 Full Mission Timeline" Muller, Daniel, 2010 ^ " Voyager
Voyager
Mission Description" NASA, February 19, 1997 ^ "JPL Mission Information" NASA, JPL, PDS. ^ Sullivant, Rosemary (November 5, 2011). " Voyager
Voyager
2 to Switch to Backup Thruster Set". JPL. 2011-341.  ^ "Basics of space flight: Interplanetary Trajectories".  ^ "History". www.jpl.nasa.gov.  ^ " NASA
NASA
- NSSDCA - Master Catalog - Event Query". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
Steered Toward Neptune". Ukiah Daily Journal. 15 March 1987. Retrieved 6 December 2017.  ^ "Fact Sheet". JPL. Retrieved 3 March 2016.  ^ Nardo 2002, p. 15 ^ "Neptune". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 3 March 2016.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
Weekly Reports". Voyager.jpl.nasa.gov. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-14.  ^ Notes on Voyager
Voyager
2 Quick Look Data: Data after November 29, 2006[permanent dead link] ^ " NASA
NASA
- Voyager
Voyager
2 Proves Solar System
Solar System
Is Squashed". www.nasa.gov.  ^ Voyager
Voyager
2 finds solar system's shape is 'dented' # 2007-12-10, Week Ending December 14, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2007. ^ John Antczak (May 6, 2010). " NASA
NASA
working on Voyager
Voyager
2 data problem". Associated Press.  ^ "Engineers Diagnosing Voyager
Voyager
2 Data System". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved May 17, 2010.  ^ " NASA
NASA
Fixes Bug On Voyager
Voyager
2". Retrieved May 25, 2010.  ^ Peat, Chris. "Spacecraft escaping the Solar System". Heavens Above. Retrieved May 23, 2010.  ^ a b c Peat, Chris (September 9, 2012). "Spacecraft escaping the Solar System". Heavens-Above. Retrieved September 9, 2012.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
- Fast Facts". voyager.jpl.nasa.gov.  ^ "At last, Voyager 1
Voyager 1
slips into interstellar space – Atom & Cosmos". Science News. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-09-17.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
– Mission – Interstellar Mission". NASA. June 22, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2013.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
– Spacecraft – Spacecraft Lifetime". NASA
NASA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. March 15, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
- The Spacecraft". voyager.jpl.nasa.gov.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
– Interstellar Science". NASA
NASA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory. December 1, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  ^ Ferris, Timothy (May 2012). " Timothy Ferris
Timothy Ferris
on Voyagers' Never-Ending Journey". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2012.  ^ " Voyager
Voyager
Golden record". JPL. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

" Saturn
Saturn
Science Results". Voyager
Voyager
Science Results at Saturn. Retrieved February 8, 2005.  " Uranus
Uranus
Science Results". Voyager
Voyager
Science Results at Uranus. Retrieved February 8, 2005.  Nardo, Don (2002). Neptune. Thomson Gale. ISBN 0-7377-1001-2 JPL Voyager
Voyager
Telecom Manual

External links[edit]

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← 1976  ·  Orbital launches in 1977  ·  1978 →

Kosmos 888 Meteor-2 No.2 Kosmos 889 Kosmos 890 NATO 3B Kosmos 891 OPS 3151 Soyuz 24
Soyuz 24
Kosmos 892 Molniya-2-17 Kosmos 893 Tansei 3 Kosmos 894 Unnamed Kiku 2 Kosmos 895 Kosmos 896 Kosmos 897 Palapa A2 OPS 4915 Kosmos 898 Molniya-1-36 Kosmos 899 Kosmos 900 Meteor-M No.39 Kosmos 901 Kosmos 902 Kosmos 903 Kosmos 904 GEOS-1 Kosmos 905 Kosmos 906 Molniya-3 No.19 Kosmos 907 OPS 9437 · OPS 9438 Kosmos 908 Kosmos 909 Kosmos 910 OPS 9751 Kosmos 911 Kosmos 912 Intelsat IVA F-4 Kosmos 913 Kosmos 914 OPS 5644 Kosmos 915 Kosmos 916 Kosmos 917 GOES 2
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Signe 3 Kosmos 918 Kosmos 919 Kosmos 920 NTS-2 Molniya-1 No.45 Kosmos 921 OPS 4800 Meteor-Priroda No.2-2 Kosmos 922 Kosmos 923 Kosmos 924 Kosmos 925 Kosmos 926 Kosmos 927 Kosmos 928 Himawari 1 Kosmos 929
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Kosmos 930 Kosmos 931 Kosmos 932 Kosmos 933 Gran' No.13L Kosmos 934 Kosmos 935 Kosmos 936
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TKS-VA No.009P · TKS-VA No.009A Unnamed HEAO-1 Voyager
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2 Kosmos 937 Kosmos 938 Kosmos 939 · Kosmos 940 · Kosmos 941 · Kosmos 942 · Kosmos 943 · Kosmos 944 · Kosmos 945 · Kosmos 946 Sirio 1 Kosmos 947 Molniya-1-38 Kosmos 948 Voyager 1
Voyager 1
Kosmos 949 Kosmos 950 Kosmos 951 OTS-1 Kosmos 952 Kosmos 953 Kosmos 954
Kosmos 954
Kosmos 955
Kosmos 955
Ekran No.12L Prognoz 6 OPS 7471 Kosmos 956 Interkosmos 17 Salyut 6
Salyut 6
Intelsat IVA F-5
Intelsat IVA F-5
Kosmos 957 Soyuz 25
Soyuz 25
Kosmos 958 Kosmos 959 ISEE-1 · ISEE-2
ISEE-2
Kosmos 960 Kosmos 961 Molniya-3 No.18 Transat Kosmos 962 Meteosat 1 Kosmos 963 Unnamed Kosmos 964 Kosmos 965 OPS 8781 · OPS 8781 SSU-1 · OPS 8781 SSU-2 · OPS 8781 SSU-3 Soyuz 26
Soyuz 26
OPS 4258 Kosmos 966 Kosmos 967 Meteor-2 No.3 Sakura 1 Kosmos 968 Kosmos 969 Kosmos 970 Kosmos 971 Kosmos 972 Kosmos 973

Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in (brackets).

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