No comet for Voyagers

VoyagerNASA announces that Voyagers 1 and 2 may be in a unique position to study the newly-discovered Comet Kohler 1977 XIV, discovered just days before Voyager 1’s launch. Both Voyagers are expected to pass Comet Kohler at a distance of a little over 1 astronomical unit (AU), equivalent to the distance between Earth and the Sun, in November, and the possibility of examining the comet with their onboard instruments is proposed. This plan is eventually abandoned, since the comet will track near the sun, direct exposure to which could harm the television tube cameras installed aboard each Voyager. The exploration of comets with robotic spacecraft will have to wait until the 1980s.

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