Voyager mission – Wikipedia notes

Voyager 1 [nasa website] is a space probe that was launched by NASA on September 5, 1977

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At a distance of 148.61 AU (22.2 billion km; 13.8 billion mi) from Earth as of March 12, 2020,[4] it is the most distant human-made object from Earth

Voyager 1 studied the weather, magnetic fields, and rings of the two planets and was the first probe to provide detailed images of their moons.

Voyager 1 has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) mounted on a boom. Each MHW-RTG contains 24 pressed plutonium-238 oxide spheres.[22] The RTGs generated about 470 W of electric power at the time of launch, with the remainder being dissipated as waste heat.[23] The power output of the RTGs declines over time due to the 87.7-year half-life of the fuel and degradation of the thermocouples

Voyager 1 began photographing Jupiter in January 1979.

Discovery of ongoing volcanic activity on the moon Io was probably the greatest surprise.

The Great Red Spot as seen from Voyager 1

Flyby of Saturn

Voyager 1 found that about seven percent of the volume of Saturn’s upper atmosphere is helium (compared with 11 percent of Jupiter’s atmosphere), while almost all the rest is hydrogen. Since Saturn’s internal helium abundance was expected to be the same as Jupiter’s and the Sun’s, the lower abundance of helium in the upper atmosphere may imply that the heavier helium may be slowly sinking through Saturn’s hydrogen; that might explain the excess heat that Saturn radiates over energy it receives from the Sun.

View of Saturn lit from the right. Saturn's globe casts its shadow over the rings to the left. Part of the lower hemisphere can be seen through the rings. Some of the spoke-like ring features are visible as bright patches.

Exit from the heliosphere

The Family Portrait of the Solar System acquired by Voyager 1 Updated version of the Family Portrait (12 February 2020) Position of Voyager 1 above the plane of the ecliptic on February 14, 1990 Voyager 1 and 2 speed and distance from Sun On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first “family portrait” of the Solar System as seen from outside,[37] which includes the image of planet Earth known as Pale Blue Dot.

Dark grey and black static with coloured vertical rays of sunlight over part of the image. A small pale blue point of light is barely visible.

Voyager 1 was commanded to change its orientation to measure the sideways motion of the solar wind at that location in space on March 2011 (~33yr 6mo from launch). A test roll done in February had confirmed the spacecraft’s ability to maneuver and reorient itself. The course of the spacecraft was not changed. It

As of September 2012, sunlight took 16.89 hours to get to Voyager 1 which was at a distance of 121 AU.

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