1 left our planet in 1977. She is close to interstellar space
and has never even heard of the internet. She’s approaching
the edge of our solar system at 38,000 mph and is under the
impression that the Edinburgh Trams Project is, by now, up
This incredible little spaceship was built from found objects
and leftover bits of 60's rockets and coated in what was,
at the time, a revolutionary combination of heat-resistant
alloys and sticky-back plastic. Fuelled by nuclear power and
curiosity, maintained by onboard systems with all the primitive
computational powers of a sixteen year old boy, she has outlasted
prime ministers and presidents, survived a journey of almost
11 billion freezing miles and narrowly escaped two capture
attempts by Ming the Merciless. And still she flies, silently
slinging past planets and solar winds and cruising further
and further and further away on an unprecedented, mind-spinning
one-way trip to who knows what. 33 years and still going strong,
still sending messages home. They knew how to build a spaceship
in those days.
We became blasé. The first moon landing
was watched by every earthling who could get to a TV set.
By the third and fourth trips, we were bored and using those
new-fangled remote controls to flip over to Bruce Forsyth.
And by the last lunar landing, in 1972, not even the fact
of the Americans taking a car up there with them could boost
And now little Voyager 1 is about to go interstellar. That
is serious space. The real deal. Aliens, I'm sure, will
have the sophistication to accord this triumph their respect.
They may fly alongside her for a while, escort her out of
the solar system and give her a 21 laser salute as she goes.