In our previous article, we provided an introduction to the Voyager program. Today we will discuss the technical details related to the Voyager probe.
Figure 1 shows the various instruments present on the Voyager probes:
Let’s discuss the important components of the Voyager probe:
Power Supply: Voyager 1 has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) mounted on a boom. They use plutonium-238 as source material. The power output of the RTGs is gradually declining over time, due to the 87.7-year half-life of the fuel and degradation of the thermocouples. But the RTGs will power some of its operations until 2025.
Computers: The computer command subsystem (CCS) contains fixed computer programs, such as command decoding, fault-detection and -correction routines, antenna pointing routines, and spacecraft sequencing routines. The Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) controls the spacecraft orientation. It keeps the high-gain antenna pointing towards the Earth, controls attitude changes, and points the scan platform.
Magnetometer: It is designed to investigate the magnetic fields of Jupiter and Saturn, the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetospheres of these planets, and the magnetic field of interplanetary space.
Photopolarimeter: It makes use of a telescope with a polarizer to gather information on the surface texture and composition of Jupiter and Saturn. It also indicates the atmospheric scattering properties and density for both planets.
Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer: It investigates both global and local energy balance and atmospheric composition. It also provides vertical temperature profiles of the planets and satellites as well as the composition, thermal properties, and size of particles in Saturn’s rings.
Our next newsletter will provide a brief about its journey, outcomes and interesting facts related to the Voyager mission. That will be the third and final part of this series.