Voyager 2 and Uranus. Animation of the Voyager 2 spacecraft flying past the planet Uranus. Voyager 2 is a space probe launched by NASA on 20th August 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. Its closest approach to Uranus occurred on January 24, 1986. It is still the only spacecraft to have visited the two outer giant planets Uranus and Neptune. The rings of Uranus are very dark and not visible from Earth. They consist of countless individual sooty fragments, probably composed of water ice with the addition of some dark radiation-processed organic material.