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Imaging Science (ISS)

NSSDCA ID: 1977-076A-01

Mission Name: Voyager 2
Principal Investigator:Dr. Bradford A. Smith


The photographic experiment used a two-camera system, based on the Mariner 10 system. This system included one narrow-angle, long-focal-length camera and one wide-angle, short-focal-length camera. The maximum resolution achievable depended greatly on the actual trajectory on this multi-encounter mission, but was as high as 0.5 to 1.0 km on the closest approaches to some objects. At Jupiter and Saturn, the resolution that was achieved was better than 20 km and 5 km, respectively. The objectives of the experiment were to photograph global motions and cloud distributions (on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune), gross dynamical properties, zonal rotations, orientation of spin axes, zonal shear, vertical shear, flow instabilities, spots, and spectrum of scale of atmospheric motions in time and space. Additional objectives included the study of the mode of release of internal energy flux (search for convection cells and rolls), study of growth, dissipation, morphology, and vertical structure of cloud complexes, gross optical properties, global and localized scattering function in the visible spectrum, polarimetry, nature of chromophores (their structure and development), and high resolution of the Great Red Spot. The objectives of the satellite encounters included (1) gross characteristics (size, shape, rotation, spin axis, cartography, improved ephemerides and masses); (2) geology (major physiographic provinces, impact and volcanic features, lineaments, polar caps, erosion processes, and low- and high-density satellite comparative studies, detection of atmospheres, frosts, and limb stratification of aerosols); and (3) surface properties (colorimetry, scattering function, nature of brightness variation, and search for new satellites). Studies of Saturn's rings were carried out and will be for Uranus' rings. Objectives included (1) resolution of individual ring components of clumps of material; (2) vertical and radial distribution of material at very high resolution; (3) scattering function; (4) coarse polarimetry; (5) occultation - optical depth; and (6) distinguishing different types of material in the rings. Other objectives were to search for new comets, asteroids, and targets of opportunity.

Alternate Names

  • ISS
  • Voyager2/ISS
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:vg2.issn
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:vg2.issw

Facts in Brief

Mass: 38.2 kg
Power (avg): 35 W
Bit rate (avg): 115 kbps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies
  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Lawrence A. SoderblomDeputy Team LeaderUS Geological
Dr. Bradford A. SmithTeam LeaderUniversity of Arizona
Dr. Harold MasurskyTeam MemberUS Geological Survey
Dr. Carl SaganTeam MemberCornell University
Dr. Verner E. SuomiTeam MemberUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Tobias C. OwenTeam MemberState University of New York
Mr. Merton E. DaviesTeam MemberRand Corporation
Mr. Alan F. Cook, IITeam MemberSmithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Dr. Garry E. HuntTeam MemberUniversity College,
Mr. G. Edward Danielson, Jr.Team MemberCalifornia Institute of
Dr. Geoffrey S. BriggsTeam MemberNASA
Dr. Torrence V. JohnsonTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion

Selected References

  • Smith, B. A., et al., A new look at the Saturn system: The Voyager 2 images, Science, 215, No. 4532, 504-537, doi:10.1126/science.215.4532.504, Jan. 1982.
  • Smith, B. A., et al., The Galilean satellites and Jupiter: Voyager 2 imaging science results, Science, 206, No. 4421, 927-950, doi:10.1126/science.206.4421.927, Nov. 1979.
  • Smith, B. A., et al., Voyager 2 in the Uranian system: Imaging science results, Science, 233, No. 4759, 43-64, doi:10.1126/science.233.4759.43, July 1986.
  • Smith, B. A., et al., Voyager 2 at Neptune: Imaging science results, Science, 246, No. 4936, 1422-1449, doi:10.1126/science.246.4936.1422, Dec. 1989.
  • Smith, B. A., et al., Voyager imaging experiment, Space Sci. Rev., 21, No. 2, 103-127, doi:10.1007/BF00200847, Nov. 1977.
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