In the aerospace context, Voyager refers to a series of NASA's space probes that were launched in the 1970s to study the outer Solar System. The Voyager program consisted of two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Both were launched in 1977, and were designed for a mission to study the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, and their moons.
After completing their primary objectives, the spacecrafts were still operating and were able to continue their missions to study the outer Solar System and beyond.
The Voyager spacecrafts are equipped with a suite of scientific instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, and magnetometers, to study the atmosphere, magnetic fields, and other properties of the planets and their moons. They also have a set of Golden Records on board, which are phonograph records that contain information about Earth and its inhabitants, in case the spacecrafts are ever found by extraterrestrial life.
- The first close-up images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, as well as their moons and rings.
- Discovery of active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and the geological activity on Triton, a moon of Neptune.
- The discovery of previously unknown ring systems around Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune.
- The study of the magnetic fields, atmospheres, and weather patterns of the gas giant planets.
- The detection of charged particles in the solar wind beyond the orbit of Pluto, indicating the presence of a heliosphere.
- Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to leave the heliosphere and enter interstellar space in 2012.
Both Voyager spacecrafts are still operational, even after more than four decades of traveling through space. They continue to send back valuable scientific data and have set records for the longest-operating spacecrafts.