Launched in the summer of 1977, Voyager was the audacious first mission that would visit all the outermost planets. An adventure with heart and humor, THE FARTHEST is the story of Voyager as told firsthand by the indelible characters who made the mission happen. They are a small band of resourceful, ambitious, and passionate men and women who reached for the stars … and succeeded. As they reckon with their astonishing accomplishments, they take the viewer on a journey both epic and intimate that will stand alongside the achievements of Magellan, Columbus, Gagarin, and Armstrong.
Nothing about the mission was easy. The twin spacecraft defied the odds to survive series of perils: a fuel leak, a jammed camera platform, and Jupiter’s sizzling radiation belts, shielded by a last-minute MacGyver-like wrapping of aluminum foil purchased at a supermarket. With less computing power than a modern hearing aid, Voyager beamed back spectacular images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. But their moons offered features never before seen beyond Earth: geysers, erupting volcanoes, and a liquid water ocean.
In addition to making discoveries, Voyager carried a Golden Record, a disk containing music and spoken greetings from around the world. Renowned astronomer Carl Sagan was a driving force behind this message for any intelligent alien who might someday stumble across the spacecraft. After the final planetary encounter, Sagan turned Voyager’s cameras back toward Earth. The resulting image of our home as a pale blue dot, no bigger than a dust mote, stirred conflicting emotions of humility and pride.
In 2012, 11 billion miles from Earth, Voyager 1 left our solar system, popping out of the bubble-like magnetic field surrounding our sun. It is the farthest human-made object from Earth and the first to enter interstellar space. Forty years after launch, Voyager has earned its place in the pantheon of human achievements. Billions of years from now, long after our sun has flamed out and burned Earth to a cinder, the Voyagers are likely to be sailing on, they and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” perhaps the only tangible evidence that we ever existed.