We have the Voyager program to thank for some of this week’s spirals: When Voyager 1 first flew past Jupiter in 1979, it photographed the monster tempest swirling around and over on itself, and in 1989 Voyager 2 flew past Neptune and spied a small spiral storm that NASA nicknamed “Scooter.” Farther beyond are galaxies like our own spiral that contain gorgeous illuminated arms speckled with starlight.
The mission uncovered two worlds very unlike any other planets in our solar system, and we now know that both have rings, as well as robust storms and bizarre icy moons.
Space Photos of the Week: A Tribute to Voyager’s Twin Trippers. In late August and early September of 1977, NASA launched twin spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2. However, after their revolutionary discoveries, NASA extended the missions and sent Voyager 2 onward to Uranus and Neptune.
In light of this dilemma, some planetary scientists have already started discussing what a flagship mission to the outer solar system might look like, so that if the decadal survey green-lights a mission to an ice giant, they can start working on it immediately.