Voyager 1, a space probe launched in 1977, was planned as a 20 year trip to photograph the most distant aspects of our local neighborhood. Since its launch on September 5, 1977, Voyager 1 has traveled almost 11 billion miles, giving us spectacular pictures of Earth and our closest neighbors.
Voyager has become one of the most famous of items of ‘space junk’. Several movies, including the first Star Trek movie, had Voyager as a core plot point. A series of messages and sounds were added to the probe, intended to be a greeting to any alien race that encounters the probe. In recent years, Stephen Hawking lamented the sending of the message, stating that any race that encounters it will likely lead to humanity’s doom.
Voyager also gave us some perspective of our small place in the Solar System, let alone the universe…
It gave us our first look at our neighboring planets as well.
Most of the great space adventures of our generation have passed with the end of the cold war…but Voyager simply keeps going on into the depths of the eternal darkness.