engineer attaching record to voyager

Reflections from the Team

Stamatios “Tom” Krimigis

Principal Investigator, Low Energy Charged Particle (LECP) instrument, Voyager
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I think back to the days we launched Voyager 40 years ago, and it seemed like one more shot into the unknown, albeit rather ambitious. We just wanted to get to Jupiter and Saturn in the next four years and explore the "uncharted territory." Never mind that Carl Sagan had talked us into including a "Message from Earth" in the golden disc the previous year—we were (the scientists) very utilitarian at the time, we just wanted more facts about Jupiter and Saturn.

It was after we got past Saturn that we began to realize that with these "little spacecraft that could," we may really score a scientific "home run"—the edge of the solar system and maybe, just maybe, the door to the Galaxy. As the years went by, the border seemed farther and farther away—would we ever get to it? Or would the Voyagers continue to work year-after-year, and if they didn’t get there soon, would we be around to see the exit?

Eventually, Carl Sagan's insistence on the "message" seemed to make a lot of sense. What if the Voyagers were "captured" in a few tens of thousands of years by intelligent beings? They would know we humans had existed and dreamed and persisted and hoped that we could reach immortality, at least with our machines that would carry the message to the end of time, if there is such a thing.

And I marvel today that my teams instrument has a little stepper motor that has been clicking, without interruption for over 7 million times, although we only expected it to do so for 250,000 steps!

So, The Farthest tells a remarkable story, and does so with diligence and skill, but also poetry and beauty and intelligence. What a wonderful creation!

— SMK, 7/11/17

Frank Locatell

Mechanical Engineer, Voyager
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I think that Voyager, with its scientific exploration of our solar system and now the galaxy beyond, and the message it carries about life on Earth, marks an evolutionary step in human development.

Think about it. Mankind has created these artificially intelligent spacecraft, laden with science instruments and then hurled them into space to explore our Universe; these autonomous systems are, literally, extensions of our intellectual and sensory capacities.  Recognizing the probability of other life in the Universe, we’ve attached a message announcing our own presence on Earth.

I am thrilled that the public has the opportunity to experience the Voyager mission through this film. Voyager demonstrates the power of science in the exploration and understanding of our Universe.

— Frank Locatell, 7/12/17

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