Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were designed to explore the outer Solar system. Voyager 2 targeted Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to study all four of the solar system’s giant planets at close range. It is now exploring the outermost reaches of where the Solar Wind and the Sun’s magnetic field dominate face.
In September 2007, it crossed termination shock at 84U. Since then Voyager 1 has been operating in the heliosheath environment a region about 40-50 AU thick where the solar wind mixes with the interstellar wind.
During the Jupiter leg of its journey, Voyager 2 was to explore the giant planet its magnetosphere and Moons in greater detail than had the Pioneer spacecraft. Voyager 2 was not only to study Jupiter but to use it as a spring board to land on Saturn using the gravity-assist technique. Voyager 2 successfully returned spectacular photographs of the entire Jovian system and time-lapse movies made from its images of Jupiter showed how the planet had changed since Voyager 1’s visit. Its images revealed changes in the moon’s surface and the persistence of its volcanic eruptions.
Voyager 2 became the third spacecraft to visit Saturn. Its Mission, there was to followup on the pictures and data returned by Voyager 1. Voyager 2 gave another close range look at Saturn and its moons. Using its photopolarimeter, an instrument, that had failed on Voyager 1. Voyager 2 was able to observe the Planet’s rings at much higher resolution and to discover many more ringlets. It also provided more detailed images by the ring spokes and kinks and of the F-ring and its shepherded moons. Finally, it employed a gravity-assist maneuver at Saturn to help it reach its next destination – Uranus.
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have flown by Uranus. The Planet displayed little detail but gave evidence of an ocean of boiling water about 800 m below the cloud tops.
A gravity assist at Uranus propelled the spacecraft forward its next destination – Neptune. It discovered 5 moons, 4 rings and a “Great Dark Spot”. Neptune’s largest moon Triton was found to be the coldest known planetary body in the Solar System. Some years before 2030 Voyager 2 is expected to cross the heliopause-the-outer boundary of the vast region of space dominated by the Solar wind and the Sun’s magnetic field-an-reach interstellar space.
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