My favorite NASA Mission is Voyager for a variety of reasons including – it goes where nothing from Earth has gone before, has historical significance, and it still works. Two satellites named Voyagers 1 and 2 launched in 1977 and STILL send us their data.
These twin satellites did such a good job on their first assignment, to explore Jupiter and Saturn – and subsequently Uranus and Neptune (and moons) from 1977-1989 that they got the biggest accolade that exists – TO GO WHERE NO THING FROM OUR PLANET HAS GONE BEFORE – the Interstellar Mission.
The interstellar medium is the matter that exists in the space between star systems in our galaxy. In this case, the star system is what we know as our solar system and these satellites are heading to the edge where the Sun’s influence (magnetic field) is diminished (outside the heliosphere) – about 9 billion miles from Earth.
Its what happens at the edge of the solar system that is surprising astrophysics and luckily we have Merav Opher on the case. I say this because she is sassy and smart and can even make a novice understand the research that she is conducting.
If you aren’t yet sold on how awesome this mission is take a look at this artifact on board. The Golden Record – a Voyager message carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth put together by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.