An artist's concept of the Voyager spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been in operation since 1977 and is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Uranus and Neptune, is currently making its way beyond the edge of the solar system, where no spacecraft or human-made object has ever ventured before. During its travels through the outer solar system, Voyager 2 visited all four gas giant planets, and also discovered and photographed many of the planets' moons.
The spacecraft's flyby of Neptune in 1989 set it on a course below the elliptic plane that will eventually take it beyond the edge of the solar system. In 1998, engineers switched off the spacecraft's nonessential instruments to conserve power. Data from at least some of the six instruments still in operation should be received until at least 2025, by which time Voyager 2 is slated to be the only human-made object outside the boundaries of the solar system.
- Imaging system
- Infrared interferometer spectrometer
- Ultraviolet spectrometer
- Triaxial fluxgate magnetometer
- Plasma spectrometer
- Low-energy charged particles detectors
- Cosmic Ray System (CRS)
- Photopolarimeter System (PPS)
- Plasma Wave System (PWS)