Voyager Telecommunications: The Broadcast from Jupiter

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Science  01 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4396, pp. 913-921
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4396.913


Sweeping past Jupiter, the Voyager 1 spacecraft presages a new era in the exploration of the solar system. Not since the TV return from Apollo has a spacecraft returned information of such volume and pictures of such startling clarity. Yet this feat was accomplished from a distance 1770 times as great as that of the lunar adventure. The communication system responsible for this remarkable achievement is a oompilation of elements ranging from tiny integrated circuits to enormous ground antennas. This article seeks to describe the way in which data are returned from these fascinating, faraway bodies and to convey the excitement of the engineering work that supports our scientific endeavors.