Astro Facts - Voyager 1 maheshsundar.com

 
Voyager 1 is the only known man made space craft to have crossed the known boundaries of the solar system. The space probe (image below) was launched in September 5, 1977. It is also the fastest space craft as of now, moving at a pace of about 17km/sec.
 
It was launched from Cape Canaveral on Sept. 5, 1977. It flew by Jupiter on March 5, 1979, and then Saturn on Nov. 12, 1980. Because its trajectory was designed to fly close to Saturn's large moon Titan, Voyager 1's path was bent northward by Saturn's gravity. That sent the spacecraft out of the Solar System's ecliptic plane -- the plane in which all the planets, except Pluto, orbit the Sun. 
 
 
 
 
The spacecraft utilised this unique and rare planetary allignment to visit the four gas planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune.
 
Voyager 1, is now the most distant human-made object in the Universe, and Voyager 2, close on its heels, continue their ground-breaking journey with their current mission to study the region in space where the Sun's influence ends and the dark recesses of interstellar space begin.
 
Voyager 1 is almost 70 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. Out there, the Sun is only 1/5,000th as bright as here on Earth. It is extremely cold, and there is little solar energy to keep the probe warm and to provide electrical power.
 
As of July 2009, the space probe has crossed the last boundaries of solar system into termination shock, which is a region in between the solar system and the vast interstellar space.
 
 
However, all said, Voyager still is not expected to come close to any other star any time soon. The nearest star would be in the Camelopardalis constellation about 1.6 light years ahead, after 40,000 years of its journey!!!
 
 
The probe however contains videos, sounds and images showing the life on earth. The idea may help to showcase life on earth if any extra terrestrial life form or intelligent beings happen to intercept the probe.
 
The probe can continue to operate at such great distances from the Sun because it has radioisotope thermal electric generators (RTGs) that create electricity. The fact that the spacecraft is still returning data itself is a remarkable technical achievement.
 
 
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