Intergalactic travel celebrated two major milestones this month: Voyager 1’s 40th year in space, and the end-life of the Cassini spacecraft.
Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, spoke with Arizona Horizon about the similarities between the two missions. Cassini was launched into Saturn’s orbit in 1997 by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. It was discovered through Cassini that Saturn has 62 moons half of which were unknown to the science community.
Voyager 1, also launched by NASA, celebrated its 40th anniversary in space on Sept. 5, where it is currently 20.8 billion kilometers from the earth. Voyager 1 passed Saturn in 1980 and is the most distant human-made object in space.
The main difference between the two crafts, according to Krauss, are their lifespans. Voyager 1 will continue its journey indefinitely, whereas Cassini will self-destruct on Sept. 15.