It took 35 years to make the leap, but a plucky little spacecraft has gone where none have gone before; beyond the bounds of the solar system and into the black between stars. Voyager 1 is our first starship; the first interstellar traveler. As such, the name Voyager should be “retired” from future use to honor the mission and humans who worked to make Voyager’s journey so remarkable.
On September 11, 2013, Voyager 1 officially sailed through the outer edges of our solar system on it Interstellar Mission. After exploring the outer planets, Voyager’s primary mission is to explore the edge of the heliosphere; a huge bubble of charged particles or plasma surrounding the Sun. It popped through that bubble sometime in the summer of 2012.
In 1977, Voyager 1 launched a couple months behind its sister, Voyager 2. It was an exciting era of space exploration. Scientists dreamed up a brilliant mission to take a Grand Tour and discover much about the outer solar system. Over the next few years, Voyager dazzled us with amazing close-up images and science of Jupiter and Saturn, then Uranus and Neptune.
As if waiting for cosmic fish, this hook-shaped galaxy sparkles in a deep image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Or perhaps you’ve turned your head and you see a galactic smile.
A spiral galaxy peeps through a sparkling array of stars in this image of ESO 318–13 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
A galactic bulls-eye ringed with pink nebulae is the only evidence of a rare galactic collision of NGC 922 that occurred millions of years ago.