University of Colorado at Boulder University of Colorado CU Home Search A to Z Index Map
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Voyager Mission Overview


The primary mission of the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft was to explore and study Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The two spacecraft starting with observations at Jupiter with a flyby, taking stunning images of the planet and Galilean moons. The spacecraft used Jupiter’s gravity to assist them on their way to Saturn. The primary objective at Saturn was to explore Titan and the rings of Saturn. After a Titan and Saturn flyby, Voyager 1 headed out of the solar system. Voyager 2 flew past Uranus and Neptune.  The two spacecraft are on trajectories that escape the Sun’s gravity, headed out of the heliosphere and into interplanetary space. More information on the Voyager missions can be found at the JPL site.

Here are some historic pictures of the Voyager team:  team-1 team-2 team-3

LASP Involvement

LASP initial involvement in the Voyager mission was the design, building and operation of the Photopolarimeter System (PPS) experiment. The primary objective of the PPS instrument can be divided into three categories, studies of atmospheres, satellite surfaces, and rings. Team members at LASP were responsible for analyzing the PPS data. Scientists at LASP have also been involved in analyzing data from the Voyager PLS and UVS instruments. This portion of the website will focus on the analysis of the PLS data.

Voyager PLS InstrumentPlasma Science


– Properties and radial evolution of the solar wind

– Interaction of solar wind with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

– Sources, properties, and morphology of the magnetospheric plasma from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

– Interaction of magnetospheric plasma with planetary satellites, with emphasis on plasma properties near  Io, Titan, and Triton

– Interstellar Ions

-Characterize the nature of the termination shock as well as detect the heliopause boundary and plasma outside of our Solar System

Instrument Measurements – Flux of electrons (D-sensor), and ions (A-, B-, C-, and D-sensors) between 10 eV – 6 keV

For more information on the Voyager PLS instrument view, The Plasma Experiment on the 1977 Voyager Mission by H.S. Bridge, PI of PLS, published in Space Science Reviews (1977).

History of Space Plasma Measurements at MIT

Below is a photo (from JPL) of PLS PI Herb Bridge (right) and Jim Sullivan (left) – anyone guess the date?