Iowa professor looks back on role in Voyager mission

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- On Tuesday, it'll have been 40 years since Voyager 1 set out on its deep space mission.

Launched, September 5th, 1977, the probe is now about 13 billion miles from the earth, and one of the people who helped create it.

Don Gurnett is a physicist at the University of Iowa. He and his team helped build some of the equipment on Voyager 1, a radio and plasma wave instrument.

That tech allowed scientists to discover a number of things, including finding lightning on Jupiter. Gurnett loves that he was able to play a part in the history of space exploration.

"I have an instrument on one of the greatest NASA missions ever flown," said Gurnett. "A mission that is now further from the earth than any other spacecraft. Oh, I'm very proud of what I have done here."

Voyager 1 is still sending back information to this day. Experts estimate they'll have to turn off the last science instrument in 2030. Though the craft will continue on its path, orbiting within the galaxy every 225 million years.