Artist's concept of Voyager

Voyager 1

Voyager 1 launched on 5 September 1977, two weeks after its twin, Voyager 2.

The probe made groundbreaking visits to Jupiter and Saturn and their moons before heading out of the ecliptic plane (the plane in which most of the planets orbit the Sun) on a journey that will take it into interstellar space.

Voyager 1 is the most distant manmade object and is still returning information about the Solar System's edge. Like Voyager 2, it carries greetings and a gold record of Earth sounds and music in case an intelligent life form finds it.

Photo: Artist's concept of Voyager (NASA/JPL)

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Artist's concept of Voyager

About Voyager 1

The Earth's ambassador to the stars is far from home.

About Voyager 1

Voyager 1 is a 722-kilogram (1,592 lb) space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977, to study the outer Solar System. Operating for 37 years, 5 months and 26 days as of March 3, 2015, the spacecraft communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. At a distance of about 130.62 AU (1.954×1010 km) from Earth as of December 6, 2014 and traveling at a velocity of 38,000 mph (61,000 km/h), it is the farthest spacecraft from Earth.

The primary mission ended on November 20, 1980, after encounters with the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two planets and their moons. It also studied the weather, magnetic fields, and rings of those worlds. As part of the Voyager program, like its sister craft Voyager 2, the spacecraft is in an extended mission to locate and study the regions and boundaries of the outer heliosphere, and finally to begin exploring the interstellar medium.

On September 12, 2013, NASA confirmed that Voyager 1 had crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space on August 25, 2012, making it the first spacecraft to do so. Two years later, NASA reported that Voyager 1 began experiencing a new third "tsunami wave", generated from activity (coronal mass ejections) on the Sun, that has continued to at least December 15, 2014, further confirming that the probe is indeed in interstellar space. Voyager 1's mission is expected to continue until around 2025, when its radioisotope thermoelectric generators will no longer supply enough power to operate any of its scientific instruments.

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