Ed Stone

  • Aired:  12/03/13
  •  | Views: 20,516

NASA pioneer Ed Stone discusses the significance of the ongoing Voyager 1 mission, from its launch in 1977 to its arrival in interstellar space. (6:17)

MY GUEST TONIGHT, GOOD NEWS.

THE PROSTATE IS PERFECTLYNORMAL.

PLEASE WELCOME ED STONE.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] THANKSSO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

MR. STONE, DR. STONE, JUST ED?

>> ED IS FINE.

>> ALL RIGHT, ED.

LISTEN, YOU WERE -- YOU AREPROFESSOR AT CAL TECH AND YOU

WERE FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NASAJET PROPULSION LABORATORY.

NOW, EXPLAIN WHY GPL IS SOIMPORTANT, WHY IS THAT SO

IMPORTANT?

>> GPL IS DESIGNS SPACECRAFTTHAT GO TO THE PLANETS AND ALSO

DOES EARTH OBSERVATIONS ANDASTROPHYSICS AND WELL.

>> Stephen: AND YOU ARE THEGUYS CONTROLLING IT ONCE IT GETS

ON THE PLANET OR GETS AROUND THEPLANET OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: AND ASTRONAUTSTHEY GET ALL THE TICKER TAPE

PARADES AND I LOVE THEM AND IWANT TO BE ONE, BUT YOU GUYS ARE

THE GUYS WHO ARE HUMPING IT DAYAND NIGHT, YEAR AFTER YEAR TO

LEARN THINGS ABOUT OUR SOLARNEIGHBORHOOD, RIGHT?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: DO YOU EVER GETANGRY AT THOSE GUYS?

>> NO, WE ARE HAVING TOO MUCHFUN.

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU GETINTO DOING THIS?

>> ACTUALLY, I WAS A GRADUATESTUDENT IN THE, WHEN THE

SPACE-AGE BEGAN SO I WAS THEREAT THE BEGINNING AND I HAVE BEEN

DOING THESE THINGS NOW FOR OVER50 YEARS.

>> Stephen: NOW, WE HAVE ALITTLE, A VIDEO RIGHT HERE, THIS

IS THE VOYAGER SPACECRAFT BEINGLAUNCHED, WHAT YEAR ARE WE

TALKING ABOUT HERE?

>> WE LAUNCHED TWO SPACECRAFT IN1977 AND THAT WAS A VERY SPECIAL

YEAR, ONCE EVERY 176 YEARS YOUCAN LAUNCH A SPACECRAFT THAT CAN

FLY BY ALL FOUR OF THE GIANTOUTER PLANETS, JUPITER, SATURN,

URANUS AND NEPTUNE, 1977 SOTHAT'S WHAT WE DID.

>> Stephen: THE MOON IS IN THESEVENTH HOUSE AND MARS IS

ALIGNED -->> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THE DAWNING OF THEAGE OF AQUARIUS.

>> YES, YES.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

SO THOSE VOYAGER'S ORIGINALMISSION?

>> ITS ORIGINAL MISSION WASACTUALLY A MISSION TO SATURN

BECAUSE IN THAT TIME SPACECRAFTDIDN'T LAST LONG SO A FOUR-YEAR

MISSION, EVERYTHING AFTER THATWAS SORT OF A BONUS SO AFTER WE

FINISHED SATURN WE WENT ON TOURANUS AND AFTER THAT WE WENT TO

NEPTUNE AND NOW WE ARE FINALLYREACHED INTERSTELLAR SPACE.

>> Stephen: SOME OF THE PHOTOSIT WAS ABLE TO BRING BACK, TELL

ME WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 1980,81?

>> THAT IS 1979 WHEN WE FLEW BYJUPITER AND THE GREAT RED SPOT,

ALL OF THE STORMS YOU CAN SEE INTHE JOVIAL ATMOSPHERE.

>> Stephen: THE FIRST CLOSE-UPSHOT WE EVER GOT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: AND LET'S CYCLETHROUGH THESE.

>> AND THEN SATURN, 1980 AND1981 WITH THE WONDERFUL RING

SYSTEM AND LOOKING AT IT ITSSATELLITES AND ONE OF THE MOONS

CALLED TITAN WHICH HAS ANATMOSPHERE LIKE EARTH'S.

>> Stephen: NOW, JIM, ONE OFTHE THINGS I REALLY LIKE, A

GREAT SHOT OF THE RINGS IS THATWE WERE THE FIRST ONES, WE WERE

THE FIRST ONES ON EARTH, THEFIRST COUNTRY TO DO THIS THING,

RIGHT?

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WE KIND OF LICKEDEVERY PLANET, ALL RIGHT? IT IS

LIKE LICKING THE DOUGHNUTS ON ATRAY, WE OWN THEM NOW, RIGHT?

>> WE OWN THEM. THE SOLARSEASONAL IS KIND OF AMERICA'S

ISN'T IT?

>> YOU GOT IT, THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SO HOW MANY YEARSNOW HAS IT BEEN UP THERE?

>> 36 YEARS.

>> Stephen: 36 YEARS?

>> 36 YEARS.

>> FOUR-YEAR MISSION, 36 YEARS?

>> YES.

WE TOOK IT STEP-BY-STEP.

THIS IS HUMANITY'S LONGEST,GREATEST JOURNEY ADVENTURE.

>> Stephen: NOW SOMETHINGSHALL NOT WE RECENTLY FOUND OUT

ON AUGUST 20 GET OF 2012 THEDATA HAS BEEN CRUNCHED OVER THE

LAST YEAR AND YOU SCFERDSOMETHING THAT HAPPENED ON

AUGUST 5TH, 2012.

>> THE SUN CREATES A HUGE BUBBLEAROUND ITSELF, THE ATMOSPHERE

EXPANDS OUTWARD AT A MILLIONMILES PER HOUR AND WE FINALLY

LEFT THE BUBBLE ON AUGUST 25THOF LAST YEAR AND NOW THERE IS,

WE ARE IN SPACE BETWEEN THESTARS.

>> Stephen: SO HUMANITY IS ININTERSTELLAR SPACE NOW.

>> HUMANITY IS IN INTERSTELLARSPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU KNOW.

>> BECAUSE WE MEASURED WHAT WASOUT THERE AND MEASURED IT WAS

DIFFERENT THAN WE HAD BEENSEEING FOR THE FIRTH 30, FOR THE

FIRST 35 YEARS.

>> WHAT IS OUT THERE? BECAUSEAS FAR AS I KNOW NOTHING IS OUT

THERE.

>> WELL, ALMOST NOTHING.

THERE ARE SOME ATOMS, SOME IONSOUT THERE THAT HAVE COME FROM

THE EXPLOSION OF OTHER MASSIVESTARS, SUPER NOVAS AND THAT

FILLS THE SPACE BETWEEN STARS.

>> SO NOW WE ARE OUT OF THESOLAR SYSTEM.

>> YES, WHILE WE ARE OUT OF THEBUBBLE WE STILL AREN'T BEYOND

THE COME METS, THE COME METS AREPART OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AS WELL

AND ARE IN INTERSTELLAR SPACEWHERE VOYAGER IS NOW.

>> Stephen: THE SO THE FACTTHAT HUMAN AT THIS IS OUTSIDE OF

THE BUBBLE, WE LEFT OURNEIGHBORHOOD, IS THAT

SIGNIFICANT? IT SOUNDS IBELIEVE PRESS RECEIVE.

HOW COME THERE AREN'T, AGAIN,PARADES BECAUSE THIS IS

SIGNIFICANT LIKE COLUMBUSDISCOVERING AMERICA? ARE WE

GOING TO GET OFF A DAY OFF AND AMATTRESS SALE?

>> WE SHOULD.

>> Stephen: WE SHOULD.

>> WE SHOULD, RIGHT.

IT REALLY IS A FIRST STEP FOROUR HUMAN JOURNEY BEYOND EARTH

AND BEYOND THE PLANETS AND INTOSTELLAR SPACE AND THESE TWO

SPACECRAFT NOW WILL BE IN ORBITAROUND THE SUN OF OUR GALAXY FOR

BILLIONS OF YEARS.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> YES.

>>>> Stephen: WHAT ARE THEY

RUNNING ON BY THE WAY.

>> NATURAL DECAY ZERO, IT IS AVERY LONG LIVED POWER SOURCE AND

RUN FOR PROBABLY ABOUT ANOTHERTEN YEARS.

>> Stephen: SO IT WILL BE DEADBY 20 --

>> 20-20 FIVE.

>> Stephen: TO 25 AND AFTERTHATS IS A FLYING JUNK HEAP?

>> IT IS OUR FLYING AMBASSADOR.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]>> Stephen: WHAT IS A SILENT

AMBASSADOR.

>> IT CARRIES A MESSAGE FROMEARTH SAYING THIS IS THE PLACE

THAT SENT THIS OBJECT, SO THAT--

>> Stephen: IS THAT WHAT THISIS?

>> THAT IS WHAT THAT IS.

BEHIND THAT COVER, THAT'S ACOVER TO PROTECT THE RECORD THAT

IS BEHIND IT.

AN OLD-FASHIONED 16 ANDTWO-THIRDS DOUBLE SIDED

LONG-PLAYING RECORD WHICH ISCARRIES A PICTURE, LIKE AN

IMAGE, A STORY OF THE EARTH,.

>> Stephen: SO WE ARE HOPINGTHAT THE ALIENS ARE HIPSTERS WHO

ENJOY VINYL?

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]>> Stephen: WELL,

CONGRATULATIONS.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: TO YOU AND TOEVERYONE AT GPL, HUMANITY IS NOW

IN INTERSTELLAR SPACE.

ED STONE.

WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK.

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