Voyager 1
November 12, 1980

 

Saturn and two of its moons Tethys and Dione

 

Flying 64,200 kilometers (40,000 miles) above the planet's cloud tops, Voyager 1 makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes stunning images of the gem of the solar system and its rings, showing that the rings are far more complex than ever imagined. The spacecraft also studies Saturn's largest moon, Titan, finding a thick atmosphere from which a rain of organic molecules likely forms lakes on the moon's cold surface.

Saturn is the last planet on Voyager 1's planetary tour. The massive planet bends the craft's flight path up and away from the ecliptic, the plane in which most planets orbit the Sun. The hearty spacecraft's mission is extended to begin the long journey of leaving our solar system and studying interstellar space. As of 2002, Voyager 1 is heading for the outer reaches of our solar system and is still returning data from its position well past Pluto.

See also: Voyager home page

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