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Daniel Merritt
Voyager 2 is an unmanned and still active space
probe, currently flying out of our solar system as we
launched on August 20th, 1977
Voyager 2 and its sister probe, Voyager 1, were
designed, developed, and built at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California
Launch Issues
Voyager 2 was launched using
a Titan IIIE rocket
During the takeoff, Voyager
2’s on board sensors became
Activating it’s backup sensors,
if it had had control over the
thrusters, it would have
crashed itself trying to correct
the trajectory
Luckily, the issue was resolved
moments before the
More Issues
However, it continued to sense phantom emergencies only 1
hour after launch
Voyager 2’s on board thrusters were activated as it
attempted to locate the sun with a light sensor for
orientation purposes
The worst result of the frantic computer activity was the
activation of the fault protection, the last line of defense in
case of a deep space trajectory malfunction
Although the probe recovered control, it was running on
backup sensors, backup radio receivers, and could no longer
activate the emergency fault protection, if needed
So far, there have been no major issues beyond that exciting
launch day
Voyager 2 utilized the gravity slingshot method to catapult
itself to the furthest planets and eventually beyond the Heliosphere
That configuration of the planets only occurs once every 176 years!
Major Discoveries: Jupiter
The Great Red Spot is a
persistent storm complex
rotating counter clockwise
New rings
Three new satellites
The most exciting discovery
is that of active volcanism on
the moon Io; the first of it’s
kind observed in the solar
Major Discoveries: Saturn
Voyager 2 was primarily
concerned with
radiography and density
mapping of Saturn’s
Possible seasonal polar
temperature differences
were detected
The average
temperatures at various
depths were also
After a slight camera
lubricant issue, it was
cleared to move on to
Major Discoveries: Uranus
Discovered 10 previously
unknown moons of Uranus
Studied the planet's
unique atmosphere,
caused by its axial tilt of
Examined the Uranian ring
Examined the corkscrew
magnetic field effects
Major Discoveries: Neptune
Discovery of the Great Dark Spot
Studied the planet's atmospheric
Heavily examined the previously
known moon, Triton, in great detail
Found that the Planet X Effect was in
fact caused by a miscalculation of
Neptune’s mass, 0.5% too high (about
the mass of Mars)
12 years? Is that all?
Voyager 2 completed it’s last planetary flyby in 1989
It flung itself out into deep space, south of the ecliptic
Continuing to float through space, momentum uninhibited by pesky
forces, Voyager 2 commences its final task; attempting to leave the
Heliosphere, and the entire solar system
On August 30th, 2007
Voyager 2 passed
the termination
shock into
the Heliosheath
So now what?
Voyager 2 is expected to keep transmitting weak radio messages until at
least 2025, over 48 years since it was launched
As of April 13, 2010, Voyager 2 was at a distance of around
91.898 AU from the Sun, and traveling outward at roughly 3.264 AU per