Voyager

 

Voyagers Press On Towards the Edge
By Ben Evans

If you are a traditionalist, you might choose a gift with a coral theme for your 35th wedding anniversary; or, if you prefer a more modern approach, perhaps something of jade would serve as an alternative. Neither was forthcoming in recent weeks as humanity’s most distant emissaries continue relentlessly pushing the boundaries of our knowledge and draw inexorably closer to the very edge of our Solar System as each day passes. Voyagers 1 and 2 – or 2 and 1, to place them in their correct launch order – rode Titan 3E-Centaur boosters into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the late summer of 1977 to exploit an unusual alignment of the outer planets. Both would visit Jupiter and Saturn and, if conditions proved satisfactory, Voyager 2 was expected to also pass close to Uranus and Neptune. No one could have foreseen that both missions would still be returning valid scientific data almost four decades later.

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