Voyager 1: Know That Now How Much Far is this Spacecraft

Voyager 1 launched on September 5, 1977 – about two weeks after Voyager 2 – and as of August 2022, it was approximately 14.6 billion miles (23.5 billion km).

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory estimates that Voyager 1 travels through space at 38,000 mph (17 kilometres per second).

Voyager 1 was first launched into space on September 8, 1977, to explore the outer planets of our solar system. No one anticipated that Voyager would still be operational 45 years later.

To their astonishment, it still sends information back home about its travels. It continues to send images back home as evidence of its journeys.

Elizabeth Howell has been working as a Ph.D. staff writer at Spaceflight Channel since 2022; previously, she had contributed writing at since 2012.

Elizabeth’s reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three Florida shuttle missions, and embedded reporting of a simulated Mars Mission in Utah.

Size: The body of Voyager 1 is approximately the size of a compact car. The magnetometer instrument’s boom extends to 42.7 feet (13 metres).

Weight at launch: 1,797 pounds (815 kg).

Launch date: September 5, 1977

Jupiter flyby Date: March 5, 1979

Saturn flyby: November 12, 1980. 12, 1980.

Enter Interstellar Space: August 25, 2012.

Voyager 1 arrived in interstellar space almost 35 years after beginning its voyage. However, scientists only confirmed its discovery formally in 2013 after reviewing data sent back by Voyager 1.

Voyager 1 was launched as the second twin spacecraft and was the first to fly past Jupiter and Saturn.

Schools and media outlets have widely used images captured from Voyager 1 over time, while its extra record, The Golden Record, contains voices and music sent directly from Earth into space.

According to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Voyager 1 has enough fuel for its instruments until 2025. At this point, it will have travelled approximately 22.1 billion kilometres (13.8 billion miles).

The Grand Tour

Voyager missions took advantage of an alignment between outer planets, which only occurs every 176 years; this allowed spacecraft to “slingshot” or move rapidly between planets using minimal fuel efficiently.

NASA originally had ambitious plans to send three spacecraft beyond Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto as well as two probes aimed at Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune;

Unfortunately, due to budgetary considerations, they had to scale back their original plans but the Voyagers still performed admirably.

Voyager 2 flew past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, while Voyager 1 focused exclusively on Jupiter and Saturn.

NASA recognized that Voyagers would one day head out into interstellar spaces and decided to equip the spacecraft with two Golden Records with whale calls, Chuck Berry music, and spoken greetings in 55 languages.

Gold-plated copper disks were 12 inches (30 centimetres). Each one came equipped with pictorial instructions on how to use them and featured information regarding where the Sun and nearby neutron stars were about each other – just in case any extraterrestrial life found our spacecraft and wondered what it was all about.

Both spacecraft are powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which convert heat from radioactive decay from plutonium decay into electricity.

Both probes feature 10 scientific instruments, including dual camera imaging systems and multiple spectrometers to measure radiation, as well as magnetometers which detect low-energy charged particles as well as high-energy cosmic rays;

These detection tools were added after discovering low-energy charged particle cosmic rays with their communications system as additional detection gear bringing their total scientific investigations up to 11.

Most Distant Spacecraft

Voyager is the third and fourth spacecraft to have travelled beyond the solar system’s planets. Pioneers 10 and 11, the two previous spacecraft, had outstripped the Sun’s gravitational pull.

However, on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1 overtook Pioneer 10 as the most distant artificial object.

The Golden Record

Both Voyager spacecraft carry greetings for any life forms that they encounter in space. The message is delivered using a 12-inch copper and gold-plated phonograph disk with sounds and images selected to represent Earth’s diverse life forms and cultures.

A committee led by Carl Sagan from Cornell University selected its contents. Dr. Sagan assembled 115 images as well as natural sounds. They added music from different cultures, eras and languages into this record for NASA.

What is the Pale Blue Dot

NASA’s Voyager 1 captured this iconic photograph of Earth on February 14, 1990.

Voyager 1 had just left our solar system, beyond Neptune, approximately 3.7 billion miles from its Sun. Mission managers ordered it back for one last pass, taking 60 pictures to create our first “family picture” of our entire universe.

The Pale Blue Dot depicts Earth dispersedly, as seen from Voyager 1. Voyager 1’s view was so distant that Earth appeared as an extremely small point of light resembling one-pixel size.

Photographer’s Profile

Voyager 1 launched on September 5, 1977, a few days after Voyager 2, its twin, launched on August 20. However, Voyager 1 outpaced its twin regarding speed to Jupiter for first contact – thus justifying why their namesakes are listed this way.

Voyager 1 made two passes by Jupiter: March 5, 1978, for Jupiter and November 1980 for Saturn.

Voyager 1 completed its journey at 5:22 GMT on February 14, 1990, after taking several photos – such as Pale Blue Dot images and family snaps – before turning its cameras off permanently at 05.22.

Mission planners wanted Voyager to conserve energy as much as possible to complete its long journey ahead.

Voyager 1 reaches interstellar orbit in August 2012, becoming the farthest object ever created by humans.

Present Status

Voyager 1 will be far from the Sun at 22.33 billion kilometres (149.0 au) as of April 2020.

Voyager 2 had travelled 18.5 billion km (123.6 AU).

Voyager 1 escapes the solar system with a 3.6 AU/year speed.

Voyager 2 escapes the solar system with a 3.3 AU/year speed.

Interstellar Mission has five science investigation teams. The five teams are:

1. Magnetic field analysis

2. Low Energy Charged Particles

3. Cosmic Ray Investigation

4. Plasma Investigation (Voyager 2 Only)

5. Plasma Wave Investigation

The five instruments aboard Voyagers directly support the five scientific investigations. Five instruments onboard Voyagers directly support the five science investigations.

1. Magnetic field instrument (MAG).

2. Low Energy Charged Particle Instrument (LECP)

3. Cosmic Ray Instrument (CRS)

4. Plasma instrument (PLS).

5. Plasma Wave Instrument (PWS)

Another instrument collects data but is not associated with an official scientific investigation:

6. Only Voyager 1 has the Ultraviolet Spectrum Subsystem (UVS).

The Heliosphere

The heliosphere, or bubble around the Sun, is formed by solar wind flowing outward and interstellar winds blowing inward, creating an interaction that creates dynamic properties carried in solar breeze, such as magnetic fields and energetic particles that interact with one another.

The heliopause marks the end of the solar heliosphere and the beginning of interstellar space; Voyager 1 enter interstellar space on August 25, 2012. Voyager 2, travelling down away from planets toward interstellar space, arrived on November 5, 2018.

Voyager Pass Jupiter Planet

Voyager 1 had difficulty lifting off on September 5, 1977, when its launch vehicle ran out of fuel 3.5 seconds into launch.

Voyager 2 was launched the same year, though not until one month after Voyager 1. Voyager 1 reached Jupiter and Mars Belt before Voyager 2. It returned its first images in April 1978, still over 16 million miles from Earth.

NASA claims that each voyager probe is approximately 3 million times smaller than a smartphone and transmits data 38,000 times slower than 5G internet connectivity.

NASA was stunned when Voyager 1 found a thin ring encircling Jupiter in March 1979. Also discovered were Thebe and Metis; Voyager also sent back images showing Jupiter’s four largest Galilean satellites, Ganymede, Europa and Io, and Amalthea.

Voyager 1, like Pioneer before it, demonstrated that Jupiter’s moons were active worlds in their own right. Voyager 1 made some remarkable discoveries about these natural satellites – Io’s volcanic activity and mottled surface were evidence that moons could also contain active interiors like planets.

Voyager 1 returned images of Europa, which revealed its smooth surface covered with lines, suggesting ice or an ocean beneath. Subsequent observations and analyses suggested that Europa may contain an underground ocean that may support life similar to Earth’s.

On March 5, 1978, Voyager 1 approached Jupiter closest, coming within 174,000 miles (280 km). Subsequently, its trajectory took it toward Saturn.

Voyager 1 Seeks Out Saturn And His Moons

Saturn was only photographed up close for the first time in 1980, taking scientists less than one year to capture these images of this remarkable world full of surprises and delight.

Voyager 1 was directed toward the F ring discovered by NASA’s Pioneer 11 probe only a year earlier. Still, Voyager’s high-resolution camera also identified two new moons, Prometheus and Pandora, whose orbits kept the F-ring material flowing evenly. Atlas, an additional ring known as the G Ring, and several Saturnian satellites were photographed.

Titan, our second largest moon after Jupiter’s Ganymede, presented astronomers with an interesting mystery for decades.

Close-up photos showed only orange haze from Titan, thus sparking much speculation as to what lay underneath.

Finally, in the mid-2000s, Huygens, an atmospheric probe from the European Space Agency’s probe, took photos that revealed Titan’s true nature beneath.

Voyager 1 completed its primary mission with its Saturn encounter and began its accelerated ascent towards interstellar orbit. Once in interstellar space, tracking became less of a priority as the focus shifted toward interstellar travel.

Voyager 1 captured one of the most iconic images ever two decades earlier. On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 captured an image from 3.7 billion kilometres away, showing Earth as an almost imperceptibly small dot surrounded by bright sunlight rays.

Voyager 1 captured hundreds of photos that day, featuring five other planets, the Sun and a “multi-image solar system family portrait.”

One striking photo, Pale Blue Dot, is a stark reminder that Earth is just a small outpost in an incomprehensible cosmos.

Voyager 1 Enters Interstellar Space

Voyager 1 broke free from the heliosphere in August 2012; this event was made public through a study published the next year in the journal Science.

Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument captured a powerful solar explosion between April 9 and May 22, 2013, which caused electrons in its vicinity to vibrate violently as a result of this eruption, leading researchers to discover through oscillations that Voyager 1 was located within an environment with greater density than its home heliosphere.

Contradictorily, the electron density in interstellar spaces appears higher than near Earth. Researchers explain this difference by showing how electron concentration at the heliosphere’s edge is much lower than at nearby locations.

Researchers then examined Voyager 1 data and determined that its official departure date was August 25, 2012. They did this by analysing electron oscillation data and measurements made by Voyager 1 of solar-charged particles.

Voyager 1 saw an almost one thousand-fold reduction in these particles on that fateful day – which also marked Apollo 11’s demise – while galactic cosmic radiation increased by 9%;

Voyager had travelled an amazing 18.11 billion kilometres or 11.25 billion miles away from Earth. That equates to approximately 121 astronomical units (AUs).

One AU represents the distance between Earth and the Sun — approximately 93 million miles or 150 million km.


3 thoughts on “Voyager 1: Know That Now How Much Far is this Spacecraft”

Leave a Comment

जाने March 2024 में रिलीज होने वाली इन ब्लॉकबस्टर मूवी के बारे में जाने भारत के इन 5 मंदिरों के बारे में जहां रोज बनता है इतने लोगों का खाना TATA WPL 2024 Prize Money: जीतने वाली टीम को मिलेंगे इतने रुपये TATA WPL 2024 Qualified Teams for Playoffs Know Here AGNI – 5 Missile Specification & Features