Why Voyager 2 is the most important Spacecraft that is out there?

Why Voyager 2 is the most important Spacecraft that is out there?

Voyager 2 Spacecraft

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft that has visited both ice giants of our solar system.

Despite its name, Voyager 2 was launched 16 days prior to its twin, Voyager 1, on 20th August 1977. It is in space for more than 40 years and has provided us with amazing discoveries all the way. Its launching trajectory was set in a way that it took longer to reach Jupiter and Saturn than the other Voyager but managed to reach Uranus and Neptune.

No other spacecraft has achieved this milestone irrespective of the technological advancements we have these days. Exploration of these two planets marked the completion of its original mission but it is working on an extended mission which is to study the universe beyond our solar system. This mission is what makes it the most important spacecraft that we have in space.

A basic human catalog is also present inside Voyager 2 that was placed there with the intention that aliens might discover it one day and decode it to know that humans exist on the Earth. The information stored in this catalog includes images, sounds, and other data related to human life. Scientists are quite confident that Voyager 2 will follow its twin and reach interstellar space (Voyager 1 reached there in 2012).

According to the statistical information from 17th March 2018, it is at a distance of 117 AU from the Sun and will achieve the escape velocity needed to leave the solar system. Once it is out there in the interstellar world, researchers are hopeful that it will provide direct measurements of temperature and density of those parts of the universe.

Voyager’s Path

Voyager Twins are considered one of the best feats of humanity.

The reason why a lot of scientists hail it as one of the greatest human achievements is that it exceeded all the expectations by surviving for a period of 40 years, 8 months, 1 day and counting. The initial plan was to explore the outer solar system by making use of a planetary alignment that happens once every 176 years. The necessary speed was to come from the gravity of the planets and scientists hoped that one of these twins will reach Uranus and Neptune for the first time in the history.

Read also: Did someone hacket Voyager 2?

Before that, these twins were to send pictures of Saturn and Jupiter back to Earth and Voyager 2 was backing up for Voyager 1. The path of Voyager 2 was to be altered in case its twin fails to capture the needed images. This would have meant no knowledge about the icy planets but researchers wanted to get at least something from this mission. Luckily, everything went smoothly and NASA went for their original plans.

Voyager 2 reached Jupiter four months after Voyager 1. This provided the scientists with a valuable opportunity to observe the changes that took place in those months. Shots taken by Voyager 2 led to remarkable discoveries. Firstly, it was observed that the Great Red Spot has changed. Similarly, a lot of Jupiter’s satellites were pictured and findings related with icy Europa were probably the best among all. The idea that outer planets have various moons was concreted thanks to Voyager 2. After that, it went towards Saturn. Its famous rings were closely observed and an experiment was performed by the researchers which confirmed the belief that numerous ringlets surround this massive planet.

Voyager 2 reached the first of the two icy planets, Uranus, on 24th Jan, 1986. The pictures taken showed that it is inexplicably tipped on one side. Astronomers are still unable to solve this riddle. The south pole of the planet faces the Sun and the atmospheric composition is 85% Hydrogen and 15% Helium. Voyager 2 found 10 new moons and 2 rings around Uranus before moving towards Neptune where it found 5 new moons and 4 rings. The Earth-sized storm on Neptune was also seen in the pictures sent by this revolutionary spacecraft.

Humans are searching for signs of life anywhere in the universe other than the Earth and the fact that Voyager 2 is all set to enter the world of stars, we might get a substantial breakthrough in this regard. Considering the revelations this spacecraft has done and the potential it carries, it is by far the most important spacecraft we have.

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