Voyager

The twin spacecraft Voyager mission lifted off in the autumn of 1977, with the Voyager 1 probe launching on 5 September and Voyager 2 on 20 August. The Voyager mission was essentially invented by two NASA interns; Michael Minovitch, who in 1962 figured out how to surf the gravitational pull of the planets to swing spacecraft across the Solar System without a drop of propellant, and Gary Flandro, who noticed that the planets were going to align into a trajectory Minovitch had plotted. In 1990 Voyager 1 took the famous Pale Blue Dot photograph, the most distant image of the Earth and inspiration for Carl Sagan, and both Voyager probes carry a 12-inch gold-plated copper disc called the Golden Record, filled with images, audio and diagrams of life in 1977 - a message for any extra terrestrials that might encounter the crafts. To this day Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still flying through space beyond our Solar System, helping us understand the formation of stars and galaxies, dark matter, and the origins of life.

Where are all the active spacecraft in our Solar System?

Since Sputnik 1 was launched in 1957, humans have sent thousands of spacecraft into the cosmos. There are currently around 50 active craft in our Solar System (not including miniaturised, amateur or commercial craft). Here’s where they are and what research they are doing.

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A message to the stars

Should we be broadcasting our existence potential alien life? Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, but that doesn't mean we haven't already done it...

10 NASA sounds that’ll whisk you off into space

Ever since the 1950s, NASA has been collecting sounds from its pioneering missions. The space agency recently uploaded over 60 audio clips to its SoundCloud page, so we've picked out some of our favourites. Put on your headphones and let us take you into space!

In full view: Saturn's hexagonal superstorm

You’ve heard of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot; now meet Saturn’s hexagon. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has taken the highest resolution image yet of the six-sided jet stream that races around Saturn’s north pole.