|The Voyager Spacecraft|
Conquering Challenging Problems
Voyager 1's photopolarimeter failed to operate. However, since Voyager 2 is Voyager 1's twin, it too has a photopolarimeter, which operated well and has provided significant data.
Early in the original mission, Voyager 2's main receiver failed but, owing to the presence of a second receiver, communications between Voyager 2 and the Deep Space Network were maintained.
After Voyager 1's important discoveries about Saturn's rings, Voyager 2 took a closer look at the rings. Unfortunately, the scan platform, on which the optical instruments are mounted, developed problems that prevented the measurement of high-resolution data about the rings and Saturn's moon Tethys.
Left: From the Earth, Saturn is never seen as a crescent, as in this image taken by Voyager 1 on November 16, 1980. Right: Voyager 1 image, showing the apparently braided F ring as two bright strands enclosing a fainter strand.
Voyager 1's PLS experiment is no longer returning useful data, but its counterpart on Voyager 2 continues to function. Also, Voyager 2 and some of its instruments have been generating noise that interferes with the MAG experiment. However, with the approach of solar maximum, the magnetic field strength increased, which helped lessen this problem.
A Fascinating Voyage of Discovery: Some Major Scientific Breakthroughs
While the Voyager spacecraft and scientific teams have made numerous important discoveries during the 25-year mission, we shall touch only on a few of the many startling and significant results.
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