Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them before They Find Us

By Donald K. Yeomans | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Solar System's Origin
The Classical View

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of
our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our
thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive
our time so we may live into yours.
—President Jimmy Carter


In the Beginning

On September 5, 1977, the Voyager I spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and began its audacious journey of planetary exploration. Its suite of scientific instruments included an imaging camera and devices to measure the atmospheres and environments of the giant gas planets Jupiter and Saturn. The spacecraft carried a goldanodized aluminum record with an engraved schematic diagram showing the Earth's location in our solar system and simply drawn, nude male and female human figures that were very controversial at the time. The record included messages from U.S. president Jimmy Carter and UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim, spoken greetings in fiftyfive languages, and a variety of Earth's natural sounds like wind and

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