In August of 1977, a NASA rocket launched Voyager II, an unmanned 1,820-pound spacecraft, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A short time later Voyager 1 was launched. Here are some fun facts about them.
• The Voyagers are a pair of unmanned US space probes, launched to explore the outer planets.
• Voyager I was launched on 5 September 1977. It flew past Jupiter in March 1979 and Saturn in November 1980, and then headed onwards on a curved path that will take it out of the Solar System altogether.
• Voyager II travels more slowly. Although launched two weeks earlier than Voyager I, it did not reach Jupiter until July 1979 and Saturn until August 1981.
• The Voyagers used the ‘slingshot’ of Jupiter’s gravity to hurl them on towards Saturn.
• While Voyager I headed out of the Solar System, Voyager 2 flew past Uranus in January 1986 and Neptune on 24 August 1989. It took the first close-up photographs of the two planets.
• The Voyagers revealed volcanoes on Io, one of Jupiter’s Galilean moons. Voyager II found ten unknown moons around Uranus. Voyager II found six unknown moons and three rings around Neptune. Voyager II discovered sulphur volcanoes on Jupiter, in 1979.
•Voyager II reached Neptune in 1989, revealing a wealth of new information about this distant planet.
• Space travel Voyager II will beam back data until 2020.
•A total of 11,000 workyears was devoted to the Voyager project through the Neptune encounter. This is equivalent to one-third the amount of effort estimated to complete the great pyramid at Giza to King Cheops