The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission :
The story of the men and women who devoted their lives to the Voyager Spacecraft mission.
The twin Voyager spacecraft are our farthest-flung emissaries, 11.3 billion miles away from the crew who built and still operate them, decades since their launch. Their fantastic journey began back in the '70s - before the first episode of Carl Sagan's legendary television series, Cosmos, aired. The mission was planned as a grand tour beyond the moon; beyond Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; and maybe even beyond our solar system. The fact that it actually happened, that the Voyagers, after making numerous discoveries and capturing astoundingly clear images of the outer planets and moons, are now entering interstellar space and still sending signals back, makes this humanity's greatest mission of exploration ever.
In The Interstellar Age, award-winning planetary scientist Jim Bell reveals what drove and continues to drive the members of this extraordinary team, including Ed Stone, Voyager's chief scientist and the one-time head of NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory; Charley Kohlhase, an orbital dynamics engineer who helped to design many of the critical slingshot maneuvers around planets that enabled the Voyagers to travel so far; and an array of expert astrophysicists, geologists, and technicians, as well as not-yet-expert undergraduate and graduate students.
Speeding through space at a mind-bending eleven miles a second, the Voyagers are now beyond our sun's planets. They carry with them artifacts of human civilization. By the time one of them passes its first star in about 40,000 years - and indeed for 100 million years after that - the gold record on each spacecraft, containing music and images, including Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode,' Bach's Brandenburg Concerto, and an Azerbaijani bagpipe tune, will still be playable. Maybe a passing alien who can follow the instructions regarding how to play this ultimate 'concept album' will listen in - or maybe it will be some future explorers from Earth who overtake our very first interstellar voyagers.
In any case, thanks to Jim Bell, now is the time to enjoy a ride far beyond any that humans have previously made.
|Ciencia||Astrophysics & Space Science|