Ed Stone

Aired:  12/03/13 Views: 21,643

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 PERFECTLY

NORMAL.

PLEASE WELCOME ED STONE.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] THANKS

SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

MR. STONE, DR. STONE, JUST ED?

>> ED IS FINE.

>> ALL RIGHT, ED.

LISTEN, YOU WERE -- YOU ARE

PROFESSOR AT CAL TECH AND YOU

WERE FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NASA

JET PROPULSION LABORATORY.

NOW, EXPLAIN WHY GPL IS SO

IMPORTANT, WHY IS THAT SO

IMPORTANT?

>> GPL IS DESIGNS SPACECRAFT

THAT GO TO THE PLANETS AND ALSO

OES EARTH OBSERVATIONS AND

ASTROPHYSICS AND WELL.

>> Stephen: AND YOU ARE THE

GUYS CONTROLLING IT ONCE IT GETS

ON THE PLANET OR GETS AROUND THE

PLANET OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: AND ASTRONAUTS

THEY GET ALL THE TICKER TAPE

PARADES AND I LOVE THEM AND I

WANT TO BE ONE, BUT YOU GUYS ARE

THE GUYS WHO ARE HUMPING IT DAY

AND NIGHT, YEAR AFTER YEAR TO

LEARN THINGS ABOUT OUR SOLAR

NEIGHBORHOOD, RIGHT?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: DO YOU EVER GET

ANGRY AT THOSE GUYS?

>> NO, WE ARE HAVING TOO MUCH

FUN.

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU GET

INTO DOING THIS?

>> ACTUALLY, I WAS A GRADUATE

STUDENT IN THE, WHEN THE

SPACE-AGE BEGAN SO I WAS THERE

AT THE BEGINNING AND I HAVE BEEN

DOING THESE THINGS NOW FOR OVER

50 YEARS.

>> Stephen: NOW, WE HAVE A

LITTLE, A VIDEO RIGHT HERE, THIS

IS THE VOYAGER SPACECRAFT BEING

LAUNCHED, WHAT YEAR ARE WE

TALKING ABOUT HERE?

>> WE LAUNCHED TWO SPACECRAFT IN

1977 AND THAT WAS A VERY SPECIAL

YEAR, ONCE EVERY 176 YEARS YOU

CAN LAUNCH A SPACECRAFT THAT CAN

FLY BY ALL FOUR OF THE GIANT

OUTER PLANETS, JUPITER, SATURN,

URANUS AND NEPTUNE, 1977 SO

THAT'S WHAT WE DID.

>> Stephen: THE MOON IS IN THE

SEVENTH HOUSE AND MARS IS

ALIGNED --

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THE DAWNING OF THE

AGE OF AQUARIUS.

>> YES, YES.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

SO THOSE VOYAGER'S ORIGINAL

MISSION?

>> ITS ORIGINAL MISSION WAS

ACTUALLY A MISSION TO SATURN

BECAUSE IN THAT TIME SPACECRAFT

DIDN'T LAST LONG SO A FOUR-YEAR

MISSION, EVERYTHING AFTER THAT

WAS SORT OF A BONUS SO AFTER WE

FINISHED SATURN WE WENT ON TO

URANUS AND AFTER THAT WE WENT TO

NEPTUNE AND NOW WE ARE FINALLY

REACHED INTERSTELLAR SPACE.

>> Stephen: SOME OF THE PHOTOS

IT WAS ABLE TO BRING BACK, TELL

ME WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 1980,

81?

>> THAT IS 1979 WHEN WE FLEW BY

JUPITER AND THE GREAT RED SPOT,

ALL OF THE STORMS YOU CAN SEE IN

THE JOVIAL ATMOSPHERE.

>> Stephen: THE FIRST CLOSE-UP

SHOT WE EVER GOT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: AND LET'S CYCLE

THROUGH THESE.

>> AND THEN SATURN, 1980 AND

1981 WITH THE WONDERFUL RING

SYSTEM AND LOOKING AT IT ITS

SATELLITES AND ONE OF THE MOONS

CALLED TITAN WHICH HAS AN

ATMOSPHERE LIKE EARTH'S.

>> Stephen: NOW, JIM, ONE OF

THE THINGS I REALLY LIKE, A

GREAT SHOT OF THE RINGS IS THAT

WE WERE THE FIRST ONES, WE WERE

THE FIRST ONES ON EARTH, THE

FIRST COUNTRY TO DO THIS THING,

RIGHT?

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WE KIND OF LICKED

EVERY PLANET, ALL RIGHT? IT IS

LIKE LICKING THE DOUGHNUTS ON A

TRAY, WE OWN THEM NOW, RIGHT?

>> WE OWN THEM. THE SOLAR

SEASONAL IS KIND OF AMERICA'S

ISN'T IT?

>> YOU GOT IT, THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SO HOW MANY YEARS

NOW 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 SOMETHING

SHALL NOT WE RECENTLY FOUND OUT

ON AUGUST 20 GET OF 2012 THE

DATA HAS BEEN CRUNCHED OVER THE

LAST YEAR AND YOU SCFERD

SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED ON

AUGUST 5TH, 2012.

>> THE SUN CREATES A HUGE BUBBLE

AROUND ITSELF, THE ATMOSPHERE

EXPANDS OUTWARD AT A MILLION

MILES PER HOUR AND WE FINALLY

LEFT THE BUBBLE ON AUGUST 25TH

OF LAST YEAR AND NOW THERE IS,

WE ARE IN SPACE BETWEEN THE

STARS.

>> Stephen: SO HUMANITY IS IN

INTERSTELLAR SPACE NOW.

>> HUMANITY IS IN INTERSTELLAR

SPACE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU KNOW.

>> BECAUSE WE MEASURED WHAT WAS

OUT THERE AND MEASURED IT WAS

DIFFERENT THAN WE HAD BEEN

SEEING FOR THE FIRTH 30, FOR THE

FIRST 35 YEARS.

>> WHAT IS OUT THERE? BECAUSE

AS FAR AS I KNOW NOTHING IS OUT

THERE.

>> WELL, ALMOST NOTHING.

THERE ARE SOME ATOMS, SOME IONS

OUT THERE THAT HAVE COME FROM

THE EXPLOSION OF OTHER MASSIVE

STARS, SUPER NOVAS AND THAT

FILLS THE SPACE BETWEEN STARS.

>> SO NOW WE ARE OUT OF THE

SOLAR SYSTEM.

>> YES, WHILE WE ARE OUT OF THE

BUBBLE WE STILL AREN'T BEYOND

THE COME METS, THE COME METS ARE

PART OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AS WELL

AND ARE IN INTERSTELLAR SPACE

WHERE VOYAGER IS NOW.

>> Stephen: THE SO THE FACT

THAT HUMAN AT THIS IS OUTSIDE OF

THE BUBBLE, WE LEFT OUR

NEIGHBORHOOD, IS THAT

SIGNIFICANT? IT SOUNDS I

BELIEVE PRESS RECEIVE.

HOW COME THERE AREN'T, AGAIN,

PARADES BECAUSE THIS IS

SIGNIFICANT LIKE COLUMBUS

DISCOVERING AMERICA? ARE WE

GOING TO GET OFF A DAY OFF AND A

MATTRESS SALE?

>> WE SHOULD.

>> Stephen: WE SHOULD.

>> WE SHOULD, RIGHT.

IT REALLY IS A FIRST STEP FOR

OUR HUMAN JOURNEY BEYOND EARTH

AND BEYOND THE PLANETS AND INTO

STELLAR SPACE AND THESE TWO

SPACECRAFT NOW WILL BE IN ORBIT

AROUND 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 A

VERY LONG LIVED POWER SOURCE AND

RUN FOR PROBABLY ABOUT ANOTHER

TEN YEARS.

>> Stephen: SO IT WILL BE DEAD

BY 20 --

>> 20-20 FIVE.

>> Stephen: TO 25 AND AFTER

THATS IS A FLYING JUNK HEAP?

>> IT IS OUR FLYING AMBASSADOR.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: WHAT IS A SILENT

AMBASSADOR.

>> IT CARRIES A MESSAGE FROM

EARTH SAYING THIS IS THE PLACE

THAT SENT THIS OBJECT, SO THAT

--

>> Stephen: IS THAT WHAT THIS

IS?

>> THAT IS WHAT THAT IS.

BEHIND THAT COVER, THAT'S A

COVER TO PROTECT THE RECORD THAT

IS BEHIND IT.

AN OLD-FASHIONED 16 AND

TWO-THIRDS DOUBLE SIDED

LONG-PLAYING RECORD WHICH IS

CARRIES A PICTURE, LIKE AN

IMAGE, A STORY OF THE EARTH,.

>> Stephen: SO WE ARE HOPING

THAT THE ALIENS ARE HIPSTERS WHO

ENJOY VINYL?

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: WELL,

CONGRATULATIONS.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: TO YOU AND TO

EVERYONE AT GPL, HUMANITY IS NOW

IN INTERSTELLAR SPACE.

ED STONE.

WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

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