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About the Voyager 2 Spacecraft

Context:

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, currently in interstellar space, is facing communication difficulties caused by an antenna misalignment.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Voyager 2 Spacecraft
  2. Interstellar Space

About Voyager 2 Spacecraft:

  • Launch: Voyager 2 was launched by NASA on August 20, 1977, as part of the Voyager program, alongside Voyager 1.
  • Mission: Its primary mission was to study the outer planets of our solar system and their moons before embarking on an interstellar mission.
  • Interstellar Space: On December 10, 2018, Voyager 2 became the second spacecraft to enter interstellar space, following its twin Voyager 1.
  • Golden Record: Voyager 2 carries a Golden Record, a phonograph record containing sounds and images from Earth, intended as a message to potential extraterrestrial civilizations.
Firsts:
  • Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have closely studied all four of the solar system’s giant planets.
  • It discovered a 14th moon at Jupiter and found 10 new moons and two new rings at Uranus.
  • Voyager 2 was the first human-made object to fly by Uranus and Neptune.
  • At Neptune, it discovered five moons, four rings, and a feature known as the “Great Dark Spot.”

Interstellar Space:

  • Definition: Interstellar space, also referred to as the interstellar medium or interstellar void, is the immense expanse of space that exists between stars within a galaxy.
  • Characteristics: It is a region where the gravitational and magnetic fields of individual stars have minimal influence, creating a space devoid of significant celestial bodies.
  • Composition: Interstellar space mainly consists of very low-density gas, dust particles, cosmic rays (high-energy particles from outer space), and magnetic fields.

-Source: Hindustan Times


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