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Voyager at 40: 40 Photos from NASA's Epic 'Grand Tour' Mission

Voyager 2 Launch


Voyager 2 lifted off on Aug. 20, 1977, about two weeks before the Sept. 5 launch of Voyager 1. The two probes were sent on different trajectories; Voyager 1 was put on a path to reach its planetary targets, Jupiter and Saturn, ahead of Voyager 2.

Voyager 1 Launch


NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 5, 1977.

Earth and Moon


This picture of a crescent-shaped Earth and moon — the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft — was recorded Sept. 18, 1977, by NASA's Voyager 2 when it was 7.25 million miles (11.66 million kilometers) from Earth.



The U.S. Geological Survey produced this processed, enhanced-color image of Jupiter using a photo captured by Voyager 2 in July 1979.

Great Spot!


As Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter in 1979, it captured this photo of the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is an ancient, high-pressure storm on Jupiter so large that three Earths could fit inside it.

Beautiful Spot

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA/JPL

In January and February 1979, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft zoomed toward Jupiter, capturing hundreds of images during its approach, including this close-up of swirling clouds around Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Jupiter's Rings


Color composite by Voyager 2 showing Jupiter's faint ring system. Images captured in July 1979.



This false-color image of Jupiter's icy moon Callisto was taken by Voyager 2 on July 7, 1979 at a range of 677,000 miles (1,094,666 kilometers).



View of the icy, ocean-harboring Jupiter moon Europa, taken by Voyager 2 on July 9, 1979.

Water Potential

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

This re-projection of the official USGS basemap of Jupiter's moon Europa is centered at the estimated source region for potential water vapor plumes that might have been detected using the Hubble Space Telescope.



This Voyager 2 mosaic, photographed at a range of 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) shows Jupiter's moon Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system. The ancient dark area of Regio Galileo lies at the upper left. Below it, the ray system is probably caused by water-ice splashed out in a relatively recent impact.

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Mike Wall
Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.