HAPPY BIRTHDAY VOYAGER!
On September 5th, NASA’s Voyager mission celebrated its 40th anniversary. One of the twin probes, Voyager 1, has even reached interstellar space!
In 1977, two twin probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were launched towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. This was the first mission to study these 4 gas giant planets. Their scientific heritage is enough to rewrite entire astronomy books!
For example, these probes discovered the first active volcanoes located beyond planet Earth (on Io, one of Jupiter’s natural satellites), numerous gas giants’ moons and they also studied Saturn’s rings.
Voyager 2 detected the previously unknown Uranus rings, which are very difficult to observe from Earth.
Voyager 1 became, in 2012, the first man-manned object to leave the Solar System. This probe now travels through interstellar space and collect valuable data on the conditions there.
Each of the two probes carries a Golden Record, that, like a message in a bottle floating in the cosmic sea, contains a message for beings that would encounter the probes. Among these messages are sounds of animals and natural phenomena from Earth (listen to them here: https://soundcloud.com/nasa/sets/golden-record-sounds-of), some music and a message of greeting from several different languages (listen to them here: https://soundcloud.com/nasa/sets/golden-record-greetings-to-the). You can even hear Carl Sagan laugh, this very famous astrophysician who participated in the Golden Record project.