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)
The Earth's ambassador to the stars is far from home.
The probe discovers the most volcanically active body in the Solar System.
NASA scientists were surprised to find that Io is the Solar System's most volcanically active body. The Voyager probes, launched in 1977, showed them Io's numerous volcanoes. The constant sulphur eruptions across Io's surface are powered by Jupiter's strong gravitational attraction, which heats the interior of the moon.
Earth is a tiny blue dot when viewed from the edge of the Solar System.
In 1990, 13 years after leaving the Earth and at a distance of 3.7 billion miles, Voyager 1 turned around to face the Sun and captured images of most of the planets, including the Earth. Voyager scientist Carl Sagan described our planet as a "blue dot".
A student solves the problem of how to reach the outer planets.
Professor Gary Flandro describes how a rare alignment of the outer planets lead to the Voyager missions, launched in 1977. As a summer student he drew maps that were the first steps in a project to send two probes beyond the edge of the Solar System.
The first detailed views of Jupiter surprise Voyager scientists.
Voyager 1, launched in 1977, sent back its first images of Jupiter in the late 1970s while it was still 50 million miles away from the planet. The gas giant's bizarre clouds and storms puzzled experts.
Jupiter's moons aren't the cold, dead worlds the experts expected.
Voyager scientists thought Jupiter's moons would be cold, dead worlds. They were amazed when the first close-up images from the spacecraft revealed four moons, each different from the next. The probes were launched in 1977.
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 36 years, 9 months and 23 days as of 28 June 2014, the spacecraft communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. At a distance of about 127.44 AU (1.906×1010 km) from the Earth as of June 27, 2014, 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. 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 announced that Voyager 1 had crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space on August 25, 2012, making it the first spacecraft to do so. As of 2013[update], the probe was moving with a relative velocity to the Sun of about 17 km/s. With the velocity the probe is currently maintaining, Voyager 1 is traveling at about 325 million miles per year (520 million kilometers). The probe is expected to continue its mission until 2025, when it will be no longer supplied with enough power from its generators to operate any of its instruments.
On December 4, 2013, NASA presented the Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone with a NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and 2014 Howard Hughes Memorial Award by Aero Club of Southern California.
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