I love space. Space missions, thinking about other planets/worlds/alien life. It’s all so cool to me. I also read a huge amount, primarily science fiction and fantasy. One thing I get less of though is non-fiction, and from time to time I try to fix that.
The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission is a great way to change that. (That’s quite the title).
In a nutshell, it’s a story of the Voyager missions, going into background years (centuries) before they were even launched up through each of the fly- bys, and into a more than decent sprinkling of the human side of the story.
There are some wonderful scientific tidbits in there that I half knew but really liked getting numbers for.
I work with computer hardware and software day in and out, so seeing just how underpowered Voyager was compared to modern devices? Awesome.
Learning about how they reprogrammed it and added compression remotely (about as remotely as has ever been done…) to better change in software what hardware couldn’t change? Awesome.
Realizing that these are human devices mind numbingly far away from us… and yet we can still talk to them and get data back? Awesome.
The human half of the story… I’m still not sure what to think about it. It ends up being rather more personal, with the author’s tangential involvement taking up a lot of the story. And… I didn’t always care about it. Get me back to the technology and SCIENCE! But really, without the human part of it, we never would have had this mission. We never would have had this book. So for that at least, it makes it work.
All together, it’s a wonderful story and a well written book. Well worth the read.