MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the flight path of NASA's unmanned Voyager 2 probe. A rare alignment of the outer planets meant that they could all be visited on the same mission. Voyager 2 left Earth in August 1977 (two weeks earlier than Voyager 1). It encountered Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1985 and Neptune in 1989. The probes beamed back the first close-up images of these planets, and vast amounts of scientific data. Voyager 2 continues to beam back data as it heads towards interstellar space.
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