Saturn and its satellites Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas
Saturn and its satellites Tethys (outer left), Enceladus (inner left) and Mimas (right of rings) are seen in this mosaic of images taken by Voyager 1 on 30 October 1980 from a distance of 18 million km. The soft, velvety appearance of the low-contrast banded structure and increased reflection of blue light near the perimeter of the Saturn disc are due to scattering by a haze layer above the planet’s cloud deck. Features larger than 350 km are visible. The projected width of the rings at the centre of the disc is 10 000 km, which provides a scale for estimating feature sizes on the image. Credit: Nasa/JPL
Launched on 20 August 1977, Voyager 2 is the longest operating spacecraft, past or present. It is 15 billion kilometres away from our Sun. Launched on 5 September 1977, Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object, at about 18 billion kilometres away from our Sun. The two Voyager spacecraft have been travelling through our solar system for 35 years and are still sending back data as they draw close to crossing into interstellar space, which is the space between stars.
Download wallpaper images of a selection of photos from the Voyager encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune…
The twin Voyager spacecraft won the Mechanical Lifetime Achievement Award in the Popular Mechanics 2012 Breakthrough Awards. Get your hands on PM’s Dec ’12 issue – on sale on 19 November – to find out about the best bold ideas of 2012.