High Resolution CamerasThe narrow-angle cameras fitted on Voyager 1 are of extremely high resolution. With sharp cameras like these, one can easily read a newspaper headline from a distance of 1 km.
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on the 5th of September, 1977. It was launched with the aim of studying the boundaries of the solar system. As such, it has completed nearly 36 years in space. It is the only man-made object to have traveled so far away from the Earth, and the first one to have reached space. It is estimated that it would travel in space for the next 10 - 20 years, and would eventually run out of fuel.
The weight of Voyager 1 is around 1,600 pounds. The space probe's communications system consists of a high-gain antenna (3.7 m in diameter) which sends out radio waves. The radio waves sent by Voyager 1 travel through the Deep Space Network (DSN).
The maximum speed of the Voyager 1 space probe is 38,610 mph (62,136 km/h). It completed its Saturn encounter on 13th April, 1979. Its Jupiter encounter got over on 14th December, 1980.
Voyager 1: Interesting Facts
Sending a space probe deep into space has been one of the most ambitious projects taken up by scientists at NASA. Voyager 1, and its identical twin Voyager 2, were sent on this mission. Here are some stunning facts about this space probe.
The space probe was designed to last for not more than 5 years. However, it is amazing how, even after 35 years, Voyager 1 continues to function efficiently.
Voyager 1 and its identical twin were sent out into space to take the 'grand tour' of the planets - Jupiter and Saturn.
It is the first probe to capture detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn, along with their moons.
Voyager 1 has covered millions of kilometers ever since it was sent to space. As of current records, the distance between the Earth and the space probe is around 19,098,858,406 km (127.66 AU). Voyager 1 is currently about 19,203,538,440 (128.36 AU) from the Sun. However, one should note that the distance is constantly increasing, since both Voyager 1 and 2 and its twin are moving away from the Earth and the Sun.
Until last year, Voyager 1 was in a region called Heliosheath, which lies in the outermost area of the Heliosphere (the outermost boundary of our solar system that is characterized by the presence of solar charged particles and high magnetic fields.)
As of February 1998, Voyager I became the fastest man-made object from our planet Earth.
Even at its astonishing speed, it would take Voyager I around 73,775 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the nearest star.
The space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are both built with 65,000 parts each. A lot of their parts are even as small as transistor chips.
One of the interesting things about Voyager 1 is that its orientation is controlled by means of three-axis stabilization gyroscopes, an assembly of 3 gyroscopes. The 3 gyroscopes control the orientation of the spaceship on three axes i.e. 'X', 'Y', and 'Z'.
Voyager 1, along with Voyager 2, has sent over 5 trillion bits of data back to Earth.
The number of work-years spent on the Voyager project during the Neptune encounter phase was 11,000.
Voyager 1 is designed in such a manner that it can withstand a large dosage of radiation. The use of radiation-hardened parts in its construction protects the space probe from radiation. Its special design also prevents sensitive parts of the space probe from getting exposed.
The power consumed by heaters and electronic equipment installed on Voyager 1 is just 400 watts. One would be surprised to know that an average home in the United States consumes 4 times more power.
Gravity assist technique was used to propel Voyager 1 from Jupiter to Saturn. In the process of deciding on a precise course for the Voyager 1 mission, scientists had taken more than 10,000 trajectories into account.
A 12-inch gold-plated audiovisual disc named 'Golden Record' was incorporated in Voyager 1 when it was sent out into space. The disc contained spoken greetings from different languages, drawings, Earth sounds, and music. The idea behind doing this was to provide extraterrestrials, if any, with some information about life on Earth.
The latest data from NASA officials confirms that Voyager one has finally and officially reached interstellar space (the region outside our solar system between stars). Till August 2012, this space probe was present in the Heliosphere (the outer charged layer of our Solar System). But the data received by NASA officials in March and April 2014 tells us of the latest news of its entry into outer space. This was confirmed after the space probe experienced a CME (coronal mass ejection) shock, the third of its kind since last year. This phenomenon is caused when the solar charged particles traveling at high speeds interact with high magnetic fields, causing a shock wave. This interaction disturbs the surrounding of an object in that region; in this case, Voyager 1.
The Voyager space probe has been the subject of many movies and game series. The Voyager 1 and 2 missions are the symbol of human traits like curiosity, and the urge to understand the different phenomena of the universe. As long as we humans wish to learn and know more about the universe, there would be more such extraordinary missions undertaken in the future.