MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of the Voyager 2 spacecraft heading into space. Voyager 2 was launched on 20th August 1977 on a mission to explore the four gas giant planets in one Grand Tour. It reached Jupiter in July 1979, Saturn in August 1981, Uranus in January 1986 and Neptune in August 1989. Voyager 2 is still functional and it is around 115 Astronomical Units from the Sun (one AU is the Earth-Sun distance, some 150 million kilometres). It is expected to pass through the heliopause, the boundary of the Sun's influence, in 2019 or 2020, after which it will enter interstellar space.
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