The Farthest/Voyager in Space Documentary on PBS


The most important 1977 dual spacecraft journey is still not over even long after they left our solar system in 2012. Voyager 1 continues with its metallic gold record of human/Earth info which could conceivably keep on flying for billions of years. It’ll be up to any other potential alien life to discover it and the signs of our existence and physical reality way back here on the Blue Planet. These missions would be about as close to eternity as any man-made artifact ever created..

Despite several unexpected problems, these two missions escaped the bounds of Earth, technological failures en route, and accidental near-fatal brushes in their encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Scientists and the rest of us now have clear pictures and much more information about what these planets are really like, thanks to 1977 technological that amazingly still transmits clear pictures back to us via continuous radio transmissions over unfathomable distances.

The journey of the two Voyagers is presented in chronological order with a fair bit of information about its making (temporarily wiping out aluminum foil availability in the area of the launch location) as well as tantalizing info and excerpts (visual and sound) from the gold record that Carl Sagan piloted and created. It is, incidentally, great to see him again and to remember what an influential scientist he was before his death in the ’90s. Also great to hear from so many people who were involved, hands-on, with the project, to hear their memories and impressions some 42 years later.

The inspiring, awesome 2-hour documentary is riveting from beginning to end and the viewer gets the privilege to see and hear many unique things and moments to do with these missions. My favorite moments were the look-back at Earth and the other planets from beyond Neptune, and the many surprises (the no. of moons of Uranus, the various rings on all four planets, and the sheer amount of new information the missions yielded).

This is a documentary especially for space fans who enjoyed the lunar and Mars landings as the initial American forays into space with the early astronauts. An incredible viewing experience minus the conventional surfeit of guessing and fantasized projections.

(Incidentally recommended as well, Tom Wolfe’s nicely illustrated version of The Right Stuff and the engaging movie version, especially the Chuck Yaeger segments in both.)

(Two thumbs up for the two disc special edition)

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