Voyagers 1 and 2 Facts



  • The Voyagers are a pair of unmanned US space probes, launched to explore the outer planets.
  • Voyager 1 was launched on 5 September 1977. It flew past Jupiter in March 1979 and Saturn in November 1980, and then headed onwards on a curved path that will take it out of the Solar System altogether.
  • Voyager 2 travels more slowly. Although launched two weeks earlier than Voyager 1, it did not reach Jupiter until July 1979 and Saturn until August 1981.
  • The Voyagers used the ‘slingshot’ of Jupiter’s gravity to hurl them on towards Saturn.
  • While Voyager 1 headed out of the Solar System, Voyager 2 flew past Uranus in January 1986 and Neptune on 24 August 1989. It took the first close-up photographs of the two planets.
  • The Voyagers revealed volcanoes on Io, one of Jupiter’s Galilean moons.
  • Voyager 2 found ten unknown moons around Uranus.
  • Voyager 2 found six unknown moons and three rings around Neptune.
  • Voyager 2 discovered sulphur volcanoes on Jupiter, in 1979.
  • Voyager 2 reached Neptune in 1989, revealing a wealth of new information about this distant planet. Space travel Voyager 2 will beam back data until 2020 as it travels beyond the edges of the Solar System.