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The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space

by Alexandra Siy

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 13th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-58089-728-0
Publisher: Charlesbridge

From the author of Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Plant (2011) comes this fascinating story of the twin Voyager probes, launched 40 years ago to travel to the outer planets of our solar system and now continuing into interstellar space.

The story begins with two graduate students in the early 1960s. CalTech aeronautics student Gary Flandro, working part-time at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, is encouraged by his boss to investigate gravity-assist rocket trajectories to the outer planets. Flandro builds upon the idea of unlimited, gravity-propelled interplanetary space travel invented four years earlier by UCLA physics and mathematics student Michael Minovitch. It was Minovitch’s idea of using a planet’s gravitational field as a “slingshot” effect to enable a spacecraft to travel from one planet to another that made the Voyager mission feasible. In an accessible narrative written in an engaging conversational style, Siy explains how the probes work, what they carry onboard—including the remarkable Golden Record that readers will wish for more detail about—and what was discovered in their journeys to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and their ventures beyond the solar system. Chapters are divided into subtopics, keeping the narrative manageable, and plentiful full-color photographs and schematics neatly complement the text.

A lively, informative, and inspiring story of space exploration. (maps, photos, glossary, websites, further reading, source notes) (Nonfiction. 10-14)