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Voyager's Grand Tour: To the Outer Planets and Beyond Hardcover

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Superb history of Voyager 28 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb history of the voyager project. Well written with plenty of illustrations. It's a must for anyone interested in the accomplishments of remote exploration of the outer planets. One note however. A previous reviewer faulted the authors for not being knowledgeable about planetary astronomy. Ronald Schorn, the co-author, was once head of planetary astronomy for NASA. He's treated this subject exhaustively in his previous book, "Planetary Astronomy: From Ancient Times to the Third Millenium." Obviously the author didn't wish to rehash what he had already published.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An Outstanding Voyage of Discovery 27 Nov 2003
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a scientific history of the Voyager 1 and 2 missions, with in-depth coverage of the technological development of the spacecraft, the scientists and engineers involved, and budgetary and political concerns. This history stretches back for decades, culminating in the launch of the two vessels in 1977 and their exploration of the outer planets, and their current wanderings at the edges of interstellar space. Note that actual planetary science covering our new knowledge of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and their many moons is found in other books, even though that knowledge was provided by the Voyager vessels. Here the authors betray their weaknesses in planetary astronomy with very rushed coverage of those matters, which only appear in the final third of the book anyway. Meanwhile some of the technical and budgetary coverage gets quite tedious, although such scientific history is meant to be the focus of the book. But as a whole this volume does give a very in-depth history of mankind's most far-reaching scientific achievement, as we have realized the dream of extending human knowledge through and beyond our solar system. [~doomsdayer520~]
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great content, not so great writing. 3 Dec 2005
By Luis Enrique Torres - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The book describes the events leading up to the mision, as well as the preparations and the mision itself, in great detail. The scientific results of the expedition are also presented in a clear way. What in my opinion would have made this a "great" book, rather than a just a "good" book would have been better writing and handling of the story. Some parts which should have carried a lot of suspense and emotion (such as, for example, the launch of the Voyager probes, and the fears of a rocket failure that would have made all the efforts wasted) are handled in such a mundane way that it's almost boring. I continually felt that sections that would have been gripping were just "one more paragraph".

There are also several editing mistakes, repeated words, mistaken sentences, and even repeated concepts and anecdotes. All in all, I got what I wanted (the story of Voyager and it's discoveries), but I'd have liked better writing.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Stunning History of a Stunning Space Science Mission 6 Jan 2004
By Roger D. Launius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Voyager's Grand Tour: To the Outer Planets and Beyond," is an excellent book that tells the fascinating story of an overwhelmingly significant pair of probes that went to the outer planets of the Solar System, one of which is still providing scientific data as it reaches our heliopause.
The Voyager project was one of the most important in the history of NASA and the first to visit the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. It originated during the early 1960s when astronomers realized that once every 176 years both the Earth and all the giant planets of the Solar System gather on one side of the Sun. This geometric line-up made possible close up observation of all the planets in the outer solar system (with the exception of Pluto) in a single flight, the "Grand Tour." The flyby of each planet would bend the spacecraft's flight path and increase its velocity enough to deliver it to the next destination. This would occur through a complicated process known as "gravity assist," something like a slingshot effect, whereby the flight time to Neptune could be reduced from 30 to 12 years. NASA launched these missions from Cape Canaveral, Florida: Voyager 2 lifting off on August 20, 1977, with Voyager 1 entered space on a faster, shorter trajectory on September 5, 1977. These spacecraft would take a spectacular windshield tour of the outer Solar System gas giant planets.
The scientific results of the Voyager mission were astounding, essentially rewriting the textbooks on the Solar System. Over a period of more than a decade the probes explored all the giant outer planets, 48 of their moons, and the unique systems of rings and magnetic fields that those planets possess. The two spacecraft returned to Earth information that revolutionized the science of planetary astronomy, helping to resolve some key questions while raising intriguing new ones about the origin and evolution of the planets in this Solar System. The two Voyagers took well over 100,000 images of the outer planets, rings, and satellites, as well as millions of magnetic, chemical spectra, and radiation measurements. They discovered rings around Jupiter, volcanoes on Io, ice on Europa, shepherding satellites in Saturn's rings, new moons around Uranus and Neptune, and geysers on Triton. The last imaging sequence was Voyager 1's portrait of most of the Solar System, showing Earth and six other planets as sparks in a dark sky lit by a single bright star, the Sun.
Perhaps a personal anecdote is in order here. When Voyager reached Jupiter in 1979 I was a starving graduate student working on a Ph.D. in the history of the American West. Like everyone, I saw the images that came back to Earth and was truly impressed. When I filed my income tax form the next year I included a little note, which I'm sure made the clerk at the IRS chuckle, that stated that I wanted all of my tax money paid that year to go to NASA because of what it had accomplished with Voyager. Perhaps it was silly gesture but it points up the impressive nature of the scientific return.
This book makes clear that Voyager was an early step in humanity's exploratory journey extending not only to the outer planets but also beyond the Solar System. It is a scintillating portrait of a critical program and a must read for all interested in the history of space exploration.
Highly recommended!
Great Overview of the Voyager Program 21 May 2010
By Andrew Collins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. It starts out with the history of planetary exploration and how that technology was applied to Voyager. The science and the people involved get mentioned, too. The second half of the book deals with the planetary mission itself with summaries of what the Voyager spacecraft discovered about the outer planets and their moons.

My only real complaint is that the first half of the book, that deals mostly with the history and development of Voyager, could have been more adequately summarized, if only so the sections on the planetary encounters could have been expanded. It is because of this I decided to give this four stars instead of five.

The book was originally written in 2000, so it is a bit dated today with the new discoveries from Galileo and Cassini and the Voyager Interstellar Mission. This is not really a criticism, just something to note while reading this.

If you are interested in the Voyager program or the outer planets and want to know more about how the discoveries were made, I would not hesitate to buy a copy. This was well worth the money I paid.
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