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Voyager Program. Voyager 1 & Voyager 2

Have you ever heard about the Voyager program? Well there is Voyager 1 & there is Voyager 2, and they are both spacecraft that were launched together at the same time, with a mission to explore and probe space outside of the solar system.

The probes were launched in 1977 at a time when the planets in the solar system were aligned. To this day the Voyager program is still going, with the probes on a mission to ‘Interstellar’ space.

 

Below is a picture of one the Voyager program’s rocket launch from Earth.

 

Voyager 1

The Voyager 1 probe is one half of the Voyager Program, and was actually the 2nd probe to be launched from the 2 probes, even though it is called Voyager 1. Voyager 2 was launched first on August 20th, 1977, with Voyager 1 launched soon after on September 5th, 1977.

Launching in 1977, the plan for Voyager 1 is endless, and will only stop when it runs out of life. The first shot of the moon from Voyager 1 was taken soon after its launch. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter in March 1979. Then by Saturn in November 1980. After visiting these planets, Voyager 1’s main mission was completed.

In February 1990 NASA instructed the probe to turn’s it’s camera back around to Earth. This was at 6 billion kilometers. 

Voyager 1 took it’s most famous pictures, and one of the most famous pictures ever. The Pale Blue Dot. See this famous picture below.

 

The tiny spec of blue light suspended in a sun beam at the middle right of the picture is fact planet Earth. How small and beautiful!

From 1990 to 2004 and Voyager 1 travelled another 8 billion kilometers to reach terminal shock.

In 2012 and over 18 billion kilometers travelled,  Voyager 1 crossed was is called Heliopause.  

Now, Voyager 1 has reached ‘Interstellar’ space, which was the first thing that has ever done so from Earth.

In around 2025, Voyager 1 will be placed into sleep mode, however will continue travelling for as long as it possibly can.  Voyager 1 carries the Earth’s message into space that we ‘Exist’  

Below is a model picture of Voyager 1 that was launched on September 5th, 1977.

 

Voyager 2

The Voyager 2 probe is one half of the Voyager Program, and was actually the 1st probe to be launched from the 2 probes, even though it is called Voyager 2. Voyager 2 was launched first on August 20th, 1977, with Voyager 1 launched soon after on September 5th, 1977.

In 2017 Voyager 2 turned 40 years old. Voyager 2’s primary mission was the same Voyager 1’s, which was to visit and take pictures of planets Jupiter & Saturn, with it’s secondary mission to visit and take pictures of planets Uranus & Neptune.

Voyager 2 has spent the same amount of time in space as Voyager 1, however is on a different trajectory and at a slightly slower speed.

Voyager 2 visited Jupiter in 1979 Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986 & Neptune in 1989. Voyager 2 will also eventually reach Interstellar space.      

Below is a model picture of Voyager 2 that was launched on August 20th, 1977.

The Voyager Program will come to an end one day, where both Voyager 1 & 2 will stop functioning, however it looks like that this will not happen for a long time.  

 

Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. Voyager 1 moves at a speed of 11 miles per second.

# 2. Voyager 2 moves at a speed of 9.5 miles per second.

# 3. The launch site of the Voyager probes is NASA Cape Canaveral in Florida.

# 4. The Voyager probes were manufactured by Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

 

Q&A Corner

Q. When was Voyager 1 launched?

Q. When was Voyager 2 launched?

Q. Which Voyager probe took the picture of the Pale Blue Dot?

Q. What speed does Voyager 1 move at?

Q. What speed does Voyager 2 move at?

Download questions about Voyager here: Voyager (answers are on this page)

For further reading and more info on Voyager visit www.easyscienceforkids.com/voyager

 

Key Vocabulary Voyager. Program. Space. Launch. Earth.