Eighth planet of our solar system was seen only as a speck to experts before NASA’s Voyager 2 passed by and took a close-up picture of Neptune. This planetary tour also showed us further insights of Triton, its moon.
“We had the opportunity to get a close flyby with Voyager 2,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager Project Manager to CNN. “Because of the planetary alignment when the probes launched in 1977, the four giant outer planets were all aligned on the same side of the sun, so we could go from one to the next to the next. It was a really great opportunity.” This facilitated the spacecraft to use the gravity of one planet to visit the later. Voyager was able to visit four planets in four years. Two major contributors of this accomplishment were Chris Jones and Trina Ray
Chris Jones produced the flight software and helped to manage the distance for communicating with the shuttle. Trina Ray was working in the NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“The incredible flow of the encounter was tremendously exciting,” Ray said. “Over the course of the month leading up to the closest approach, you really got caught up in what was happening. It had this feeling of acceleration. I’ve never seen another spacecraft mission profile have that building intensity over months, resulting in an incredible data set from the days around the closest approach.”
Media from everywhere camped in the JPL parking space discussing the photograph and covering press conferences. This voyage gave further insights such as the magnetic field of Neptune was tipped on its side, four rings were discovered around the planet. They further discovered a Giant Dark spot comparable to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, but it was no longer visible through Hubble Space Telescope four years afterward; which suggests the event might have been over.
Everyone in the organization takes an immense pride as Voyager is the longest-running spacecraft in human history. Currently it is exploring uncharted area of the heliosphere