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  The Farthest (PBS 2017 Voyager documentary)

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Author Topic:   The Farthest (PBS 2017 Voyager documentary)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-16-2017 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) release
PBS and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Celebrate 40th Anniversary of NASA Voyager Launch in 'The Farthest' (w.t.)

PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced today (Jan. 15) at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour the production of "The Farthest" (working title [wt]), a two-hour documentary that spotlights the extraordinary success story of NASA's Voyager mission, which began 40 years ago this August.

The twin Voyager spacecraft revolutionized planetary science, resolved key questions about the outer planets and raised intriguing new ones about the evolution of our solar system. "The Farthest" (w.t.) will celebrate these magnificent machines, the men and women who built them, and the vision that propelled them farther than anyone could ever have hoped. Originally approved to travel only to Saturn and Jupiter, the spacecraft took advantage of a once-in-176-year planetary alignment and used gravity-assisted slingshot trajectories to extend the missions, with Voyager 2 also visiting Uranus and Neptune. The two spacecraft, equipped with less computing power than a cell phone, sent back unprecedented images and data from all four outer planets and their many spectacular moons.

Four decades later, Voyager 1 has traveled more than 12 billion miles and Voyager 2 more than 10 billion, and both nuclear-powered spacecraft continue to send back data. In 2012, Voyager 1, which is traveling at more than 320 million miles per year, became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space — leaving our solar system behind and ushering humanity into the interstellar age.

"This is one of the boldest and most spectacular space missions of all time," said Executive Producer Sean B. Carroll of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. "As we approach the 40th anniversary of the mission's launch, with both spacecraft still going strong and farther from Earth than any other object humans have created, we felt it was important to tell the story of how Voyager came to be and what important discoveries it made possible. 'The Farthest' (w.t.) is a thrilling tale that will inspire awe and admiration in viewers of all ages, and we're delighted to join with the PBS and Crossing The Line to bring it to the screen."

"Voyager was a game-changer," said Producer John Murray of Crossing The Line Films. "A group of enterprising scientists and engineers sent these two tiny probes on a mission of discovery, but they couldn't have imagined how successful the mission would be. Voyager laid the groundwork for so much of what we know about the outer planets and their many, incredibly varied moons, and both spacecraft are now breaking new ground with the information they're sending back about the edges of our solar system and the nature of interstellar space."

With the participation of more than 20 of the original and current mission scientists, engineers and team members, the film tells the captivating tales of one of humanity's greatest achievements in exploration. From the aluminum foil from the local market that was added at the last minute to protect the craft from radiation to the near disasters at launch to the emergency maneuvers to fix a crucial frozen instrument platform, viewers get a sense of how difficult — and rewarding — space exploration can be.

And then there is the science: Between them, the Voyagers explored all four of the giant outer planets of our solar system, 48 of their moons, and their unique systems of rings and magnetic fields. Highlights include the discovery on Jupiter's moon Io of the first active volcano beyond Earth; spoke-like structures that form and disappear between Saturn's rings; the Great Dark Spot, a giant storm on Neptune that is the size of Earth and similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter; and active geyser-like eruptions on Neptune's moon Triton, which spew gas and dust from the moon's interior miles into its thin atmosphere.

After completing its mission to the outer planets, Voyager turned its camera back toward Earth and, at the request of famed astronomer Carl Sagan, took one of the most famous images of Earth ever created. As described by Sagan in the film, the image showed Earth as a pale blue dot on which "everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives ... on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." The eloquent and insightful Sagan was one of the masterminds behind another of Voyager's most iconic elements: the Golden Record. "The Farthest" (w.t.) reveals how this famous record, which has never been released on Earth, was created and how it presents humanity to any creatures who may find it.

"Between the Voyager anniversaries, the full solar eclipse that will be visible across the U.S. next August, and the dramatic end of the incredibly successful Cassini mission to Saturn, we're looking at a spectacular summer for space-related stories," said PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, Beth Hoppe. "Voyager was — and continues to be — a trailblazer and a beacon of success for space exploration. And who knows — billions of years from now, human beings may all be gone and it could be carrying the very last evidence of our existence out into the universe."

"The Farthest" (w.t.) is a Crossing The Line film presented by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios in association with The Irish Film Board, ZDF, ARTE and the BBC. The film is written and directed by Emer Reynolds and produced by John Murray and Clare Stronge. Executive producers are John Rubin, Sean B. Carroll and Dennis Liu (HHMI Tangled Bank Studios) and Keith Potter (Irish Film Board). Executive in charge for PBS is Bill Gardner.

"The Farthest" (w.t.) will be available to stream the morning after broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast.

mode1charlie
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posted 01-18-2017 06:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great to hear, and glad it will be a 2-hour film - impossible to cover this epic project in under 60 minutes.

RobertB
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posted 01-19-2017 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RobertB   Click Here to Email RobertB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think a runtime of a little over 38 hours would be most suitable.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-13-2017 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) release
'The Farthest — Voyager In Space' Will Premiere August 23 on PBS
in Celebration of 40th Anniversary of the Voyager Launch

PBS announced that "The Farthest — Voyager in Space", a two-hour special about NASA's historic Voyager mission to explore our solar system and beyond, will premiere nationally on August 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS stations, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first Voyager launch. The documentary was an official selection in the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival as part of the festival's Viewpoints program.

With participation from more than 20 of the original and current mission scientists, engineers and team members, "The Farthest — Voyager in Space" tells captivating tales of one of humanity's greatest achievements in exploration. From supermarket aluminum foil added at the last minute to protect the craft from radiation; to the near disasters at launch; to the emergency maneuvers to fix a crucial frozen instrument platform, viewers get a sense of how difficult—and rewarding—space exploration can be.

Featuring a soundtrack of evocative period music including songs from Pink Floyd, stunning cinematography, vivid CGI animations of Voyager traversing the solar system, and original groundbreaking photographs taken by the twin spacecraft, the film tells the story of one of humanity's most ambitious scientific endeavors. Voyager revolutionized planetary science, resolved key questions about the outer planets and raised intriguing new ones about the evolution of our solar system. Originally approved to travel only to Saturn and Jupiter, the spacecraft used gravity-assisted slingshot trajectories to take advantage of a once-in-176-year planetary alignment to extend their missions, with Voyager 2 also extending its mission to visit Uranus and Neptune.

After completing its mission to Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 turned its camera inward and, at the insistence of the eloquent and insightful astronomer Carl Sagan, took one of the most famous images of Earth ever captured. As described by Sagan in the film, the image showed Earth as a pale blue dot on which "everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives …on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

The spacecraft, equipped with a fraction of the computing power of a modern cell phone, sent back unprecedented images and data from all four outer planets and many of their moons. As they continue their journey into interstellar space, they carry with them a literal record of our existence that may outlive us all. Sagan was one of the masterminds behind perhaps Voyager's most iconic feature, The Golden Record, which carries greetings, music and images from Earth to intelligent beings they may one day encounter. "The Farthest — Voyager in Space" reveals how this famous record was created and how it presents humanity to any creatures that may find it.

"We're living in an exciting time for space exploration, with new Earth-like exoplanets being discovered, manned missions to Mars on the horizon, and the search for extraterrestrial life being taken ever more seriously," says executive producer Sean B. Carroll of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. "And even though it launched 40 years ago, Voyager laid the foundation for so much of what we know about the outer planets and beyond. It's an incredible scientific achievement, but also inspires us to reflect on our place in the universe and to imagine the implications of finding life on other worlds."

"The men and women who gave birth to the Voyager mission are an extraordinary group of people whose passion and sense of curiosity are as eternal as the Voyager journey itself," says producer John Murray of Crossing The Line Films. "We are incredibly grateful to them for sharing their stories with us and for bringing to life what it was like to create a scientific mission of literally cosmic proportions. This story is more than 40 years in the making, and there have been — and continue to be — so many firsts that Voyager remains as relevant now as it was when it was launched. The spacecraft are still inspiring people, still forging new frontiers of discovery and still sending back data that is changing our understanding of our solar system and beyond."

Four decades after they left Earth, Voyager 1 has traveled more than 12 billion miles and Voyager 2 more than 10 billion. Both nuclear-powered spacecraft continue to send back data. In 2012, Voyager 1, which is traveling at more than 320 million miles per year, became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space—leaving our solar system behind and ushering humanity into the interstellar age.

"The Farthest — Voyager in Space" is a Crossing The Line film presented by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios in association with the Irish Film Board, ZDF, ARTE and the BBC. The film is written and directed by Emer Reynolds and produced by John Murray and Clare Stronge. Executive producers are John Rubin, Sean B. Carroll and Dennis Liu (HHMI Tangled Bank Studios) and Keith Potter (Irish Film Board). Executive in Charge for PBS is Bill Gardner.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 07-14-2017 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
40 years already, my... I wonder if there is a detailed list of the voices on the Golden Record? As well as a CD recording of it?

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-15-2017 06:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The playlist includes Chuck Berry's 1958 classic Johnny B. Goode. I can't think of a finer interstellar ambassadorial riff! I'm not sure, though, what any extraterrestrial life will make of the Navajo Night Chant but it's interesting to hear if you haven't heard it before.

The Golden Record has been posted on YouTube and is available to purchase in CD and MP3 on Amazon.

Carl Sagan also wrote a book called Murmurs of Earth about the creation of The Golden Record.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2017 10:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I attended a screening of "The Farthest," which is a truly excellent, feature-length documentary.

I'll be writing about this (to run closer to its debut), which will include comments from my interview tonight with John Casani, project manager for the Voyager mission; Frank Locatell, Voyager propulsion system engineer; and Don Gurnett, principal investigator for the probes' plasma wave instrument, all of whom appear in the film.

I found "The Farthest" to be a must-see documentary that is compelling from launch to interstellar space.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-02-2017 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you know if it will be broadcast by the BBC?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-02-2017 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I asked about international distribution. BBC was involved in the production and is expected to air it, but I don't know when.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-03-2017 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's hope it's not held back to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Neptune encounter!

Incidentally, a DVD version will be released on Oct. 3.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-23-2017 07:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA's Voyager probes, 40 years out, are brought near in 'The Farthest'

Forty years ago, NASA launched twin robotic explorers on a mission to travel farther out than any spacecraft had gone before, and today, they continue to be our most distant emissaries.

The Voyager probes, referred to by numerical designators "1" and "2," revealed the outer planets of our solar system and then continued to sail beyond. Voyager 2, which was the first to launch on Aug. 20, 1977, visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 departed Earth on Sep. 5, 1977, overtook its counterpart, and was the first to arrive at Jupiter and Saturn.

Three and a half decades later, on Aug. 25, 2012, Voyager 1 became the first craft to cross into interstellar space. It is the farthest of humanity's creations, about 13 billion miles (21 billion km) from the sun, and it is still sending data.

The story of the Voyagers, and of the people behind them, is the focus of the aptly-titled documentary, "The Farthest," airing Wednesday (Aug. 23) on PBS.

minipci
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posted 08-23-2017 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for minipci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Incidentally, a DVD version will be released on Oct. 3.
The DVD version appears to have a run time of only 100 minutes though. No idea if that is correct.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-23-2017 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the filmmakers, there were two versions of "The Farthest" cut: one for broadcast and one for theaters.

They also created a 19-minute digital short, "Second Genesis," about the search for life beyond Earth.

JPSastro
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posted 08-23-2017 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Farthest will air Sunday, Aug. 27 from 8 am to 10 am on the PBS station, KUAS, here in Tucson. It will be rebroadcast on Monday, Aug. 28 at 1:00 am.

OTA on Channel 6, Cox Cable Channel 1006 and not sure what channel on Comcast/Xfinity cable.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-24-2017 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by minipci:
The DVD version appears to have a run time of only 100 minutes though.
I don't know if PBS has commercial breaks, but that could certainly explain the difference between broadcast-time and DVD-time. One of the great pleasures of seeing this (eventually) on a BBC channel will be the complete absence of commercial breaks.

Robert's information about two different versions (TV and cinema) is a little difficult to understand. What would they delete from one, and would the DVD show the longer or shorter version? Also, isn't there still a different frame rate between TV and cinema, with one playing 4% faster than the other? Wouldn't that also make a difference?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2017 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is not uncommon for content to be cut from documentaries to fit the timing constraints for television. For example, the version of the Apollo 17 documentary short "The Last Steps" that aired on CNN was shorter than the original film presented online.

I'll see if I can learn the difference(s) between the different cuts of "The Farthest."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2017 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per the filmmakers, the theatrical version is about 25 minutes longer than the PBS version, and does not include any narration.

The PBS version will be the one included on the DVD/Blu-ray.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 08-24-2017 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the documentary last night. I enjoyed it, especially in regard to the gold record.

An earlier Kickstarter project is about to release the compilation on the history of the recording including restoration and repressing of the original recordings and a coffee table book about the mission, the probes and the record. I look forward to see the package when it arrives.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-24-2017 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
It is not uncommon for content to be cut from documentaries to fit the timing constraints for television...
That makes perfect sense. But those constraints do not apply to a Blu-ray disc, or even to a DVD. It is a little difficult to understand why the filmmakers would not put all of the material onto the DVD/Blu-ray. After all, discs often contain "bonus material" that didn't make it into the televised version.

I am also trying to grasp why the cinema version has no narration. Either the narration is unnecessary, in which case why include it? Or it is necessary, in which case why exclude it? I suppose the only way to find out the answers to these questions is to see the cinema version; the Blu-ray; and the TV version.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 08-24-2017 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I mostly enjoyed it as well, but in my view there was not nearly enough science.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 08-24-2017 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My local PBS in the midwest is rebroadcasting this episode on PBS-World Channel (25.3 here) on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. and again on Aug. 28 at 12:01 a.m., 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day. Also Sept. 25, on the original PBS station at 10 p.m.

If desired, you can watch it on YouTube for $1.99.

Tom Dahl
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posted 08-25-2017 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom Dahl   Click Here to Email Tom Dahl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the PBS airing of this film last night. It was disappointing. I was actually quite irritated at a large fraction of the visuals. I literally looked away a few times (mostly during the un-stabilized sequences of planetary approach images which jumped all over and might trigger seizures in some folks).

I suppose the "random" visuals were artsy, but there were way to many extreme close-ups of a spinning record (which I suspect many viewers, especially young ones, would not recognize), too many out-of-focus and dis-oriented shots of cars driving on highways, too many out-of-focus light blobs, etc. Too much of the film visually was just irrelevant!

A particularly irritating scene: there was a sequence of a computer-graphic version of the spacecraft that was assembled bit-by-bit as clusters of parts flew into frame. (I'm making a CG model of the Viking lander spacecraft, so this caught my eye.) This scene would have been pretty cool if the focus had been sharp. Instead major portions were deliberately out of focus. Odd and irritating — the viewer cannot see!

The audio track (limited narration and interview subject voice) was okay but the mission was not well explained to my mind.

Even though I have been a space enthusiast since the mid 1960s I would not watch this film a second time!

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 08-28-2017 12:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thoroughly enjoyed it. But having met several of those involved in the mission, especially Bradford Smith, several particular moments were stuck in my mind, as I can still vividly recall them and the wonderment all encountered for the very first time as they were discovered.

The flashbacks were pertinent to life on Earth then in this documentary.

Blackarrow
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posted 11-26-2017 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The Farthest" will be shown in the UK on Channel 4 HD on Thursday 30th November at 2100hrs. The slot is 90 minutes long and of course, being the BBC, there will be no interruptions of any kind. (Assuming no massive solar flare.)

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