Voyager 1 and 2 - 2018-2019 UPDATE

Sept. 26, 2018, 8:07 a.m. By: Kirti

Voyager 1 and 2

In the 1960's, a Grand Planetary Tour to study the outer planets was proposed that aimed to send the unmanned probes to the outer planets of the outer solar system. The Grand Tour could exploit a rare unusual and favorable alignment of the planets- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This planetary alignment would occur in the late 1970's and would not occur again for a hundred and seventy-six years.

So the twin Spacecrafts Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 to take advantage of the special planetary alignment. The primary mission of the Voyager spacecrafts was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn and after making a series of outstanding discoveries, the mission was extended.

Its twin Voyager went onto the Uranus and Neptune and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. Eventually, Voyager 1 and 2 explored all the giant outer planets of our solar system, 48 of their moons and the unique system of rings as well as magnetic fields that those planets possess.

Both Voyager 1 and 2, having completed their primary mission in 1989, were ready to begin their exploring outside the solar system. In 1990, with the change in the mission, to now explore outside the solar system, the designation of the voyagers was changed to Voyager Interstellar Mission.

After a brief history of the voyagers, This video fast forwards and talks about how the voyagers are keeping up in the outer space and what they are equipped with in order to do so.

The video further discusses how the Voyagers actually are in contact with the earth and how do we know that they are up there in the interstellar space, the most convenient way to locate Voyager 1 is the measurement of the temperature and density of plasma or ionized gas around the spacecraft without the use of Voyager 1's plasma detectors that stopped working years back.

The video then talks about why the plasma detector on Voyager 1 that had been designed but also on the contrary since the detector was not working, making such measurements was not a possibility.

A turn takes place when a pair of solar flares blasted charged particles in the direction of the Voyagers in the year 2011 and 2012 and it took one year for the particles to reach them that as a result helped the scientist to determine the Voyagers location. Hence, scientists declared that Voyager 1 is now in Interstellar space.

After comprising the whole video about the Voyagers, the shift takes place when the talks moves to the Oort clouds and how it will take Voyager 1 another 30,000 years to pass its journey through the Oort clouds. Only then Voyager 1 will be considered to be in pristine interstellar space.

Not limiting itself, questions like the below are answered:

  • What does the future hold for Voyager?

  • Where are they going?

The video finally folds into to how the ultimate death of the Voyagers could come and how the Voyagers will however probably outlive the solar system long after our Sun dies and after the Milky Way has been unalterably changed or disappeared.

NASA’s Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space:

Video Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory