Traveller's Tales

Episode six of Cosmos began by discussing the life of Christiaan Huygens and his many contributions to science including such feats as postulating that Saturn was surrounded by a ring, discovering the Saturnian moon Titan, estimating stellar distances and making sketches of the Orion Nebula. This story was woven into the history of the Dutch East India Company and how after Holland had separated from Spain they became one of the driving forces in exploration in the 17th century.

At one point it was mentioned that Galileo was invited to move to Holland following his encounter with the Catholic church, and the inquisition. I wonder what would have happened if he had been able to go - imagine the mind of Galileo and what he might have discovered when he was unfettered by superstition.

The show went on from here to discuss the role of the two Voyager spacecraft played in our understanding of the solar system, and the multitude of discoveries they made while passing through the system on their way to the stars. Dr. Sagan then briefly discussed the voyager golden record "The Sounds of Earth" that was attached to both two craft. The remainder of the episode dealt with what the Voyager craft had discovered.

The more I watch this series the more I am amazed with what we as a species have been able to do from a technological standpoint. It was interesting to note that all the knowledge the Voyager missions gave up cost the people of Earth one cent per world per person on earth - not a bad return on the investment.



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