NASA bringing down Voyager probes after 45 years of service

  • The Voyager 1 and 2 were interstellar probes launched by NASA to explore Jupiter and Saturn in 1977. 
  • The probes have been serving the world for 45 years now and have been instrumental in amazing discoveries on Uranus and Neptune. 
  • NASA scientists are shutting down more and more instruments aboard the probes to conserve power and may soon shut down the mission completely.

The Voyager program was a milestone scientific program by the American space agency NASA, that recruited two robotic interstellar probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.

They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, to fly near them while collecting data for transmission back to Earth. NASA has estimated the total cost of the Voyager program, from its inception into today, is around $865 million.

The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission was to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence, and possibly beyond.

During the span of its approximately 45-year-long voyage, this mission not only transformed our knowledge of Jupiter, Saturn, and their dozens of moons but also gave us our first close-up look at the strange and wondrous planets Uranus and Neptune.

And now, NASA has decided it’s time to lay the veteran interstellar probes to rest.

End of the journey

The Voyager probes are proof of the voracious progress man has made in science and technology. They are the man-made objects which have made a journey into the farthest corners of space.

They have contributed data that has been the basis of new missions over the past decades and have enriched our understanding of the vast universe beyond measure.

The voyagers were launched in 1977 initially for a  year’s mission to Jupiter and Saturn. But they broke all records and did better than anyone had even dreamt of and are still going even after 45 years!

Some of their major achievements are the pictures of the solar system which they transmitted back to Earth before their cameras were decided to be shut down.

But like all good things, this incredible journey must come to an end. The scientists at NASA are being forced to shut down even more instruments on the probes to conserve power and keep their journey alive for a bit longer. Nonetheless, the images sent by the Voyager have completely changed the world of Science and they’ll always be immortal.

Significance of the Voyager probes

The Voyagers reached Jupiter in 1979 and took about 50,000 pictures of the planet. These pictures had a much greater quality than the ones taken from Earth and also enabled scientists to study the planet better. These pictures were the basis of the studies regarding the atmosphere and geology of the planet which otherwise would have been impossible to study and decipher.

The Voyager is the reason that mankind is aware of the two moons orbiting Jupiter – Thebe, and Metis. Even the composition of the beautiful rings around the planet was discovered by The Voyager. Although the biggest breakthrough would be the discovery of volcanic activity at the surface of lo, Jupiter’s moon.

Another major feat achieved by The Voyager includes the first close-up look at the strange and wondrous planets Uranus and Neptune. The probes also provided in-depth information about Neptune’s Great Dark Spot and powerful winds and erupting geysers on Triton.

Where are they now?

In August 2012, Voyager 1 left our planetary system and entered the mysterious region between the stars: interstellar space. Voyager 2 joined its pioneering twin in the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence in 2018.

In 2012 Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to leave the heliosphere, delivering the first measurements of the full intensity of cosmic rays and the galactic magnetic field from interstellar space. Voyager 2 provided the first measurements of the solar wind termination shock.

In the decades since the two craft were launched into space, Voyager 1 has traveled more than 20 billion km, while Voyager 2 has hit the 17 billion km mark.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Popular