The main aim of the Voyager 1 was to the explore Jupiter and Saturn. After discovering active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon and details of Saturn's rings, the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went further to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is the current mission of the spacecraft, which includes exploration of the outermost edge of the Sun's domain and beyond that.
Voyager Interstellar Mission
The Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is an extended mission of Voyager 1 and 2. The aim of this mission is to discover the various characteristics of the outer solar system environment and look for the heliopause boundary (the outer limits of the Sun's magnetic field) and outward flow of the solar wind. Penetrating into the heliopause boundary between the solar wind and the interstellar medium will enable measurements of the interstellar fields, particles and waves
Both Voyagers are moving towards the outer boundary of the solar system looking for the heliopause, the region where there is minimal influence of the Sun and the beginning of interstellar space can be sensed. No spacecraft has explored the heliopause and the Voyagers may be the first to pass through this region. This region exists around 8 to 14 billion miles away from the Sun. Probably, in the next 5 years; the two spacecraft could cross an area known as the termination shock. In this region the million-mile-per-hour solar winds reduce to a speed of about 250,000 miles per hour, which is the first indication that the wind is close to the heliopause. The Voyagers should cross the heliopause after 10 to 20 years after it reaches the termination shock.
The Voyagers have sufficient electrical power and thruster fuel to operate at least until 2020. After that, the Voyagers may just wander in the Milky Way.
The VIM can be divided into three distinct phases:
This interstellar exploration is the ultimate goal of the Voyager Interstellar Mission.
Let us now see the different components of these spacecraft