On this day in 1977, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, the first Voyager spacecraft to launch, departed on a journey that would take it to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It would go on to be the longest-operating NASA spacecraft ever. Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, that launched 16 days later on 5 September 1977, are still going strong, hurtling away from our Sun.
Today Voyager 2 is more than 16,750,000,000 kilometres from the Sun. The probe is expected to reach interstellar space soon and should have enough power to operate at least some of its instruments until the mid-2020s. Its sistership, Voyager 1, made its historic entry into the region between the stars in August 2012.