On September 5th, 1977, NASA sent the 1,592lb unmanned spacecraft Voyager 1 to study the outer Solar System and interstellar space. The primary mission ended in 1980, and the Voyager 1 moved into its extended mission: study the edges of the Solar System. On 1990, Voyager 1 took the first images of the Solar System from an outside perspective, a first for mankind. Currently, the Voyager 1 is passing through the heliosphere, the area between our Solar System and the interstellar medium, which it’s scheduled to reach around 2015.
On the Voyager 1 are 11 scientific instrument packages originally built by different engineering teams; each unique instrument is used to harness various types of information on the mission in space. One of those groups was overseen by Dr. A. Lyle Broadfoot of the University of Southern California. Dr. Broadfoot’s team was responsible for the Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS), of which the main function is to measure atmospheric properties, and radiation.
The Voyager 1 mission has been considered a huge success. Among the biggest highlights were the first detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn, and the corresponding study of those planets (utilizing the data collected by various on-board instruments, including the UVS) has expanded our planetary knowledge by volumes. Of all the instruments on board, the UVS is one of four that is remains active 33+ years later. Now at .002 light years away from the Sun, it takes around 16 hours for information transmitted by Voyager 1, to reach receivers on Earth. At its current velocity (38,192mph) Voyager 1 will pass near the star AC+79 3888 in about 40,000 years.
Source: San Diego News