Voyager 2

po_Voyager2Voyager 2 is a 1,590 lb space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. It was actually launched before Voyager 1, but Voyager 1 moved faster and eventually passed it. It has been operating for 36 years, 5 months, and 3 days as of 23 January 2014; the spacecraft still receives and transmits data via the Deep Space Network.

At a distance of 103.00 AU (1.541×1010 km) as of January 23, 2014 from Earth, it is one of the most distant man made objects (along with Voyager 1, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11). Voyager 2 is part of the Voyager program with its identical sister craft Voyager 1, and is in extended mission, tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space.

The primary mission ended December 31, 1989 after encountering the Jovian system in 1979, Saturnian system in 1981, Uranian system in 1986, and the Neptunian system in 1989. It is still the only spacecraft to have visited the two outer giant planets Uranus and Neptune. The probe is now moving at a velocity of 15.428 km/s relative to the Sun.