Humanity has visited Uranus only once, and that was 30 years ago. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft got its closest look at the mysterious, distant, gaseous planet on January 24, 1986.
Voyager 2 sent back stunning images of the planet and its moons during the flyby, which allowed for about 5.5 hours of close study. The spacecraft got within 50,600 miles (81,500 kilometers) of Uranus during that time.
"We knew Uranus would be different because it's tipped on its side, and we expected surprises," said Voyager mission project scientist Ed Stone, who is also Caltech's David Morrisroe Professor of Physics and vice provost for special projects. Stone has served as project scientist since 1972, continuing in that role today.