‘It’s Quieter at Dusk’ at the Newport Beach Film Festival explores the Voyager space mission

Outer space is a numbers game.

A light year equals 5.879 trillion miles. The Milky Way alone is 100,000 light-years across. The diameter of the universe is 93 billion light years. So 93 billion times 5.879 trillion equals… a giant headache to even begin to fathom those distances.

All of this is why astronomers and astrophysicists and scientists/engineers were created, to help us try to understand beyond faith the mysteries of the universe.

Unless you’re Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or a Russian oligarch, for most of us earthlings, the 11 billion 659 million 829,000,491 figure is just as unfathomable.

Impressively, it’s ever-increasing miles from earth that two 45-year-old spacecraft named Voyager 1 and 2 are transiting through interstellar space, beyond our solar system – en route to who knows where, perhaps. being to orbit silently around some like-an Earth-like planet yet unknown far beyond the afterlife.

The story of the miraculously long-lived Voyagers spacecraft is not so much about these two engineering marvels, but about the flight crew of engineers who follow them through what has been called “the humanity’s greatest exploration”.

Their story is featured in the 95-minute documentary, “It’s Quieter in the Twilight,” shown at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The science/engineering team at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena recognized that four planets would be aligned—one event every 176 years—allowing study of all four without having to send individual probes to each planet.

The probes could then borrow some of each planet’s orbital forces to help propel them forward and farther. Throughout, a team would monitor their progress.

What started as a group of over 1,000 specialists in the 1970s has shrunk to a team of six who monitor the Voyagers’ ongoing progress, with only one today able to report his information due to the reduced ability to keep instruments warm in the minus 76 degree vacuum of space.

A single parabolic antenna, at the space center in Canberra (Australia), can communicate with the Voyagers.

Miraculously, after 40 years, nine of the 10 instruments on board are still working.

The majority of the original engineers who were working moved on. The six-person team, now in the late 70s and 80s, is dedicated to watching, observing, learning and sharing until the last hydrogen runs out, resulting in a frozen death for all instruments and an almost infinite silence. journey towards all that awaits us.

“It’s Quieter in the Twilight” is a fascinating documentary, especially for those who remember the early days of space exploration. But that doesn’t dive so much into the

technology, but in the dedicated lives of those remaining engineers, who plan to retire when the Voyagers’ fuel runs dry.

Like proud parents, they’ve thrived on the surprisingly long success of their “offspring,” and in recent years they’ve done so mostly anonymously.

Despite Voyager’s predicted death, this 45-year-old saga has a happy ending.

“It’s Quieter in the Dusk” will screen Saturday, October 15 at 5:15 p.m. at the Triangle 4 Theater and Thursday, October 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the Triangle 5 Theater. For tickets and more information, visit www. NewportBeachFilmFest.com

About Travis Durham

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