In 1989, Chuck Berry and Carl Sagan partied it up at one of the biggest bashes of the summer—a celebration honoring the two Voyager spacecrafts, who were about to make a dramatic exit from our solar system. 

The twin probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, launched back in 1977, with only a five-year mission to take a gander at Jupiter and Saturn’s rings and moons, hauling the Golden Record containing messages and cultural snapshots from Earth (including Chuck Berry’s music). 

Obviously, the Voyager spacecrafts have persisted a lot longer than five years: 46 years, to be exact. They’re still careening through space at a distance between 12 and 14 billion miles from Earth. So how have they lasted four decades longer than expected? Much of it has to do with a bit of vintage hardware and a handful of software updates. You can find out more (and when the crafts’ expected death dates) by subscribing to PopSci+ and reading the full story by Tatyana Woodall, and by listening to our new episode of Ask Us Anything