Right now , there is a remarkable piece of technology transmitting data. What is remarkable is that this piece of machinery is 11 billion miles from earth heading out beyond our solar system into interstellar space.
The spacecraft is called Voyager. It was launched from Florida in 1977. For 35 years it has been traveling in space.It has given us spectacular close up views of Jupiter, Saturn and many of it’s moons. It has astoundingly increased man’s knowledge of our solar system.
On board the spacecraft is a gold record contains the sights and sounds of our planet as it was in the 1970’s. There is music on the record, everything from the Rolling Stones to Bach. This record is a picture of our world ,to be seen if an alien intelligence intercepts the spacecraft in it’s travels through space towards the stars.
Voyager is an ambassador from earth to the universe. If it is not intercepted , in 40,000 years Voyager will be approaching the star Gliese 445. Until then, Voyager will drift through interstellar space..
I often wonder, what if Voyager had human emotions. What would it feel as it drifts at a speed of thousands of miles per hour through eternity? It would probably feel overwhelming loneliness, maybe wonder, maybe a great sadness that it would never see Earth or it’s human creators ever again.
The Voyager probes are just one example of American technology at it’s finest . In the short space of 40 years, America has landed men on the moon, sent probes to Venus, landed robots on Mars, explored the outer planets, landed a probe on Titan, a moon of Saturn..
This is only one of many reasons why the U.S. space program must continue to be funded and manned and unmanned space exploration must continue. The old excuse that we have to solve our problems here on Earth first does not carry any weight anymore. We always will have problems here on Earth. We must explore our universe and solve our problems. We can do both.
The rewards for the world are far to great to pass up.
A case in point – On Europa, a moon of Jupiter, there is probably an underground ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon.. There is a possibility that life forms are swimming there in that alien sea, maybe advanced life forms. To find that would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. We must explore and discover- it is in the nature of man himself.