Pity I didn’t see this sooner. Voyager 2 was launched 30 years and two days ago.

According to JPL it is currently 7,653,000,000 miles from Earth (approaching 80 AU; double Pluto’s average distance from the Sun), and moving at about 34,000 MPH (relative to the Sun).

I remember very well the excitement surrounding each of Voyager’s planetary encounters when I was young. Apollo 11 was before I was born. In fact, the only memory I have of the Apollo project is when Skylab came down. The Voyagers were my space program. A decades-long mission to boldly photograph where no one has photographed before.

I expected at the time that we’d be following up with manned missions soon enough. That (and many other developments in the space program) has been a disappointment. But the Voyagers themselves have never disappointed. They continue to operate, long after their expected lifespan, long after we thought their transmissions would be too faint to track.

The best celebration I can think of for the Voyagers is this video about a portrait of the Solar System taken by Voyager 1.