Voyager: 30 Years in Space The Outer Planets and Far Beyond

Voyager: 30 Years in Space The Outer Planets and Far Beyond

Sept. 20 & 21

Launched in 1977, the twin Voyager spacecraft were assigned an ambitious mission — to explore the giant outer planets. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1981. Voyager 1's flight path at Saturn bent away from the ecliptic plane, while Voyager 2 continued on to encounter Uranus (1986) and Neptune (1989). Both Voyagers are now heading out of the solar system, with enough onboard resources to continue sending data until at least 2020. In 1998, Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space. In December 2004, Voyager 1 crossed into a region at the outer edge of our solar system, and could cross into interstellar space — beyond the Sun’s domain — within the next 10 years.

Dr. Alan Cummings
Senior Scientist, California Institute of Technology

Standard Podcast: Play video (without captions)

*note: The speaker misspoke when referring to the distance from the Sun to the center of the galaxy as 8-10 light-years. That distance is 8-10 kilo-parsecs, or about 26,000 light-years. The speaker regrets any inconvenience this may have caused.