Did you know that NASA launched the space probe Voyager 1 in 1977? Voyager 1 studied the weather, magnetic fields, moons, and rings around Jupiter and Saturn. On August 25, 2012, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. It is now the farthest man-made object from Earth and sends back fascinating information about what is found beyond our solar system in the space between stars. In case Voyager 1 ever encounters extraterrestrial life, scientists placed a ‘golden record’ that contains pictures, sounds, and greetings in different languages from Earth.
We hope that you have a stellar day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
Initially, Voyager 1 was planned as Mariner 11 of the Mariner program. Because of budget cuts, the scale of the Mariner program was severely reduced and the two last probes were moved into the “Mariner Jupiter-Saturn” program. As the design of the space probes and the program changed from the previous Mariner program probes, it was renamed the “Voyager Program” and the space probes were renamed Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
The ‘golden records’ carried by each of the Voyager spacecraft contain information about our planet such as photos of Earth; sound recordings of whales, babies, greetings in 55 languages, and music from around the world. The gold-plated record was included in case the spacecraft are ever discovered by intelligent lifeforms.
On February 14, 1990 Voyager 1 sent back a photo of the planet Earth. This picture eventually became know as the “Pale Blue Dot”.
Voyager 1 could have flown by Pluto as well, but scientists elected to have the spacecraft study Titan, one of Saturn’s moons in more detail since the moon had known atmosphere.
Voyager 1 is also the most distant object from Earth, whose location is known. It is even farther than the dwarf planet Eris, which is 96 AU from Earth. Voyager 1 is 139 AU. Currently, Voyager 1 is moving at about 17030 meters per second, or about 325 million miles per year!
Voyager 1 is expected to continue to work until 2025 when its radioisotope thermoelectric generators cannot supply enough electricity for the scientific instruments.