The Planetary Society celebrates the silver anniversary of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 with a comprehensive web tribute that includes behind-the-scenes stories from Voyager team members, breathtaking images, and tribute postcards that can be e-mailed to friends and family.
"In their fly-bys of all the outer planets except Pluto, and dozens of other planetary bodies, the Voyagers set the benchmark in planetary exploration on an undertaking that has come to be deemed as one of NASA's greatest triumphs," notes A.J.S. Rayl in an in-depth web exclusive.
Mission team members who share the stories behind the Voyager story on the Planetary Society's website include Ed Stone, Voyager Project Scientist; Bruce Murray, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the Voyager mission launched and the Society's current Chairman of the Board; and Linda Kelly, who discovered the first active extraterrestrial volcano on Jupiter's moon, Io. Kelly is the Program Development Manager for The Planetary Society.
"By February 1979, the data was falling down on us like rainfall and the images were coming in at all hours of the day and night," notes Kelly of the days leading up to her discovery.
As with many great scientific firsts, finding the volcano was sheer serendipity. Kelly recounts, "...when I performed a linear stretch to look for a dim star ... I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world." That anomaly, of course, turned out to be a volcanic plume, the first evidence of current volcanic activity in the solar system anywhere off Earth.
Visitors to the website can enjoy many such stories about how Voyager transformed not only our view of the solar system but also our view of humanity's place within it.
As Brad Smith, the Voyager Imaging Team Leader, notes on one of the electronic postcards (a view of Neptune and its moon Triton), "During Voyager's odyssey, distant planets and their tiny moons were transformed into real worlds. Together, the two Voyagers wrote a unique page in human history. And it was a wild ride for us all."
The website also includes excerpts of articles from the special Voyager anniversary issue of the Society's magazine, The Planetary Report, including a noteworthy retrospective by Timothy Ferris.