By spacecraft standards, Voyager 2 is an endurance athlete. On 28 June, the longest operating space probe celebrated having spent 12,000 days – almost 33 years – in space. But it’s not the only spacecraft to have set a record for extreme achievement. New Scientist chronicles the missions that have pushed the envelope.
NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 probes were launched in reverse order, so Voyager 2 is actually older. It rocketed into space on 20 August 1977, 16 days before its twin, and went on to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
It continues to send back measurements of the solar wind as it coasts out of the solar system towards interstellar space. Its radioactive power source should keep it alive until around 2025, by which point it will be 48 years old.. Read More [via newscientist]