Voyager 2 and planets, illustration

Voyager 2 and planets, illustration

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Credit: CARLOS CLARIVAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Voyager 2 and planets, illustration. Voyager 2 is the only space probe to have visited Uranus and Neptune. It was launched in August 1977 as part of an ambitious exploration programme to study the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). Its twin, Voyager 1, was launched one month later in September 1977, at a greater speed that allowed it arrive at Jupiter and Saturn before Voyager 2. The probes explored both planets between 1979 and 1980, but Voyager 2 also visited Uranus and Neptune in 1986 and 1989 respectively. The Voyager probes still operate today, and are more than 15 billion kilometres away, periodically returning data.

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