On September 5, 1977, the Voyager-1 spacecraft was launched from Earth. The mission of such vehicles is to investigate places where previously nothing launched from Earth has flown.
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On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched, which is almost 16 days earlier than Voyager 1. It would seem the numbering paradox, however, numbers were assigned to spacecraft based on which of them first reaches Jupiter.
In August 2012, Voyager-1 entered the interstellar space, an area filled with matter ejected during the explosion of stars millions of years ago. A similar cut-off was submitted to Voyager-2 in December 2018. The estimated speed of Voyager-1 is about 62,000 km/h , and Voyager-2 is 55,000 km/h.
In addition, the Voyagers carry along with them the American flag and a gold plate with photos, sounds, and coordinates of our planet.
And to this day, the devices transmit various scientific data and images from space through radio waves. However, this requires energy. Obviously, a distance of more than 22 billion km from the Sun is too large for the use of photovoltaic cells.
But spacecraft engineers have foreseen this. Voyagers are powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). Generators, in turn, use plutonium-238 as fuel.
The half-life of plutonium is 87.7 years. RTGs through thermocouples convert the thermal energy released during the decay of plutonium into electricity.
Each of the three Voyager RTGs produces about 160 watts. It is with their help that the devices operate a radio transmitter and other systems for transmitting information to Earth. At the current distance, it takes about 19 hours to transmit the radio signal from Voyager 1 to the NASA center.