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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

'Knocking on eternity's door' -- NASA's Voyager mission turns 40

• by Adam Wernick

Voyager brought to Earth the first close-up views of Uranus and Neptune. It revealed "spokes" in the rings of Saturn and details of Jupiter's storm that had never been seen or even imagined. It imaged Io's volcanic plumes and found the potential for life on the moons Enceladus and Titan.

In 2012, Voyager 1 left our solar system and entered interstellar space. It is the most distant man-made object from Earth and continues to collect and transmit valuable information to scientists — still using its antiquated 8-track tape recorder. 

"For me, the best thing about this anniversary and the celebration that everyone seems to be making of it, is just to have the opportunity to spend some time remembering what we all accomplished so long ago with so very little," says Carolyn Porco, a planetary scientist and former member of the Voyager imaging team.

"In my mind, the Voyager mission is the Apollo 11 of the planetary exploration program," she continues. "It has earned that iconic stature in our culture, because not only did it open up the solar system for our view, but it carried with it a record of human greetings and songs and pictures of our planet that constitute a message from humanity to the Milky Way, to whatever, whoever, finds Voyager — if ever.

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