In late August and early September of 1977, NASA launched twin spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2. These two missions fundamentally changed the way we understand our solar system: Scientists saw massive storms on Jupiter. They found Io covered in erupting volcanoes. They captured Saturn’s rings in such unprecedented and tantalizing detail that it warranted a return trip, with Cassini in the late 1990s.

The Voyager craft were originally meant to study Jupiter and Saturn. However, after their revolutionary discoveries, NASA extended the missions and sent Voyager 2 onward to Uranus and Neptune. Before Voyager 2, we’d never visited these two outermost planets, and this remains the only mission to ever observe them up close. Both Voyager spacecraft wrapped up their work in 1990, and to preserve power, their cameras were shut off.

Revel in the majesty of the Voyager missions in the gallery above.

Looking to get lost in space? Start with WIRED’s full collection of photos here.

More Great WIRED Stories