In 1977 NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2, two probes boldly going where no spacecraft had gone before! After 35 years of zipping through space these ultimate inanimate explorers still work and are still communicating with us! The Voyager program has been a vital source of information used by astronomers in understanding more about our own cosmic back yard.
Thirty-eight years ago I stood with my younger brother on a shoreline near midnight looking eastward across 12 miles of quiet, dark water at the brilliant jewel on the far horizon. A million people lined the beaches as far as we could see. In the distance xenon arc lights crossed upon the largest craft ever to carry humans. The thunderstorm that had earlier sent tendrils of blue and orange lightning beyond the gantry had since moved far out to sea.
For an incredible 33 years, Voyager 2 has been our eyes of discovery in the outer solar system and beyond. This venerable spacecraft has been in continuous operation more than 12,000 days, sending us compelling photos and information about the gas giants of the solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now headed into interstellar space beyond the solar system, the spacecraft is still transmitting invaluable data about the solar wind and deep space beyond the planets.