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What is the Voyager?

May 7, 2021

The Voyager is a twin spacecraft that was meant to do a flyby of Jupiter and Saturn. Following the Pioneer 11 spacecraft, the Voyager was meant to collect more information about our solar system and universe. Although the main mission was to simply collect information on Jupiter and Saturn, the mission extended to the surprise of NASA. This success can be credited to all those who worked on this project such as Carolyn Porco, a planetary scientist; Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer; and Candice Hansen who was part of the Voyager imaging team.

“They [the Voyager team] made some remarkable work, but they also dared to dream big,” Associate Professor of physics Paul Bloom said.

The scientists took a risk and put all of the best equipment onto the craft. There were no guarantees that the Voyager would go further than their main mission, but with its surprising travel, the Voyager became a huge success. In the late 1900s, Voyager’s travel through our solar system was a massive achievement because no man-made spacecraft ever traveled so far. To Bloom, this distance the Voyager traveled was monumental for space history.

“I vividly remember, especially with Voyager to the encounters with Uranus and Neptune and being able to do this grand tour and visit all the outer planets,” Bloom said.

The Voyager’s grand tour allowed the Voyager to get pictures of all the planets in our solar system. Thanks to the Voyager’s success, humankind now knows more about Earth’s sister planets and has a record of our home solar system.

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