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Voyager: To the Final Frontier
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How fitting that the Voyager probes should have launched in 1977, the year of Star Wars. But the findings beamed back from both spacecraft surpassed director George Lucas’s wildest imaginings. Even at an early stage mission spokesman and storytelling genius Carl Sagan summed up how astronomers and laymen alike became inspired by what they were seeing: “It’s impossible to look at these pictures with only a scientific cast of mind because they are simply exquisite.”
Marking 35 years since Voyagers 1 and 2 blasted off, the story of their dazzling discoveries is retold with passion and joy: from the churning storms of Jupiter and the bulge behind one of its moons, Io, that turned out to be a volcano to the vast nitrogen geysers of Triton.
But first, presenter Dallas Campbell takes us way back to Sputnik, and the “three-body problem” that needed cracking before a single blueprint could be drawn. It’s a thrilling tale of machine exploration and human endeavour. If you see nothing else, tune in for the last five minutes as the words of Carl Sagan play out over images of mankind; it’s spine-tingling.
Dallas Campbell tells the story of the Voyager space mission, which saw two unmanned spacecraft leave Earth to explore the farthest reaches of the solar system. The probes were launched in 1977, and became the first man-made objects to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Having travelled 11 billion miles to date, the pair now journey beyond the influence of Earth's sun, bearing a record of human civilisation in case of discovery by other species.
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