This month marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of two NASA Voyager spacecraft. They are still connected by communication and transmit information to a reception center in Australia. In the city of Canberra, CSIRO is responsible for communication with a set of 4 radio telescopes and plates.
As many as 40 years have passed and the Australian station is the only one who has the necessary equipment to communicate with travelers, who move farther and farther away each year.
Launch of Voyagers
Their goal was a flight to Jupiter and Saturn. When scientists obtained all the necessary data, they sent Voyager-2 to Neptune and Uranus. From each item we received pictures and scientific information. After that, the devices used a gravitational slingshot and changed orientation.
Space communications complex in Canberra
Voyager-2 managed to start on August 20, 1977, and Voyager-1 - on September 5. If they had missed the date, they would not have been able to choose the most ideal moment in the next 175 years. In 1979, Voyager 1 reached Jupiter.
Jupiter in all its glory
For the first time, we looked so closely at the massiveness of Jupiter and its moons. These were detailed surveys of volcanic Io, turbulent storms and hints of the subsurface ocean of Europe. For 12 years, the mission has found 24 new satellites.
Voyager-2 sends on board the Titan-4 rocket
Saturn and his entourage
After Jupiter, both vehicles met near Saturn. Voyager 1 went to the northern trajectory, and Voyager 2 flew to distant giants.
In 1986, Voyager 2 passed Uranus and received weak images. In 1989, he arrived at Neptune.
Approach to Jupiter
During the passes, the Canberra plate had to be enlarged from 64 m to 70 m in diameter in order to increase the signal power and get clear pictures of Neptune. This innovation helped to keep in touch near the outer planets.
Pale blue dot
This is a famous shot that Voyager 1 took in 1990. For a short time he turned in our direction and imprinted our native home. Karl Sagan believed that this image should inspire us to explore space.
Both devices have long left the outer planets and are moving in different directions, continuing to send us amazing shots.
Jupiter's Famous Red Spot
Connection only with Australia
The station in Canberra is the only place on Earth that can keep in touch with distant travelers. They are distant from us by tens of billions of kilometers, so the signals are extremely weak. In 2012, Voyager 1 was the first to break into interstellar space. This is a unique case and undoubtedly an important event for science.
Volcanic eruption on the satellite of Jupiter Io, captured by Voyager-1
It is important to understand that the creators of the mission initially planned to send devices beyond the line of our system. Therefore, each has a gold plate, which recorded the greeting in 55 languages. The cover explains how to get to our planet.
It is expected that in 2030 both devices will lose contact with us, but will continue to travel at an acceleration of 17 km / s. Now you understand that even with the extinction of our civilization, we have already left an amazing legacy. One day, the Voyagers achieved their goal and then the scientists' work will pay off.
Snapshot of the largest satellite of Jupiter, Ganymede, whose diameter covers 5262 km