Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A brilliant new account of the Voyager space program-its history, scientific impact, and cultural legacy

Launched in 1977, the two unmanned Voyager spacecraft have completed their Grand Tour to the four outer planets, and they are now on course to become the first man-made objects to exit our solar system. To many, this remarkable achievement is the culmination of a golden age of American planetary exploration, begun in the wake of the 1957 Sputnik launch. More than this, Voyager may be one of the purest expressions of exploration in human history.

For more than five hundred years the West has been powered by the impulse to explore, to push into a wider world. In this highly original book, Stephen Pyne recasts Voyager in the tradition of Magellan, Columbus, Cook, Lewis and Clark, and other landmark explorers. The Renaissance and Enlightenment-the First and Second Ages of Discovery- sent humans across continents and oceans to find new worlds. In the Third Age, expeditions have penetrated the Antarctic ice, reached the floors of the oceans, and traveled to the planets by new means, most spectacularly via semi-autonomous robot. Voyager probes how the themes of motive and reward are stunningly parallel through all three ages. Voyager, which gave us the first breathtaking images of Jupiter and Saturn, changed our sense of our own place in the universe.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2010
ISBN: 9780670021833
Branch Call Number: 629.4354 PYN
Characteristics: xix, 444 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ChristchurchLib Sep 30, 2014

According to environmental historian Stephen J. Pyne, the year 1957 - which saw the launch of Sputnik - kicked off the "Third Great Age of Discovery," an era as important to human civilization as the Age of Exploration that sent Columbus and others to the New World. In this "unique and engrossing" book (Publishers Weekly), Pyne focuses on the twin Voyager spacecraft sent to explore the outer solar system and beyond (they'll keep going until they lose power, around 2025) and discusses unmanned space missions in the context of their cultural, technical, and political similarities to earlier geocentric expeditions. Science and Nature Newsletter October 2014.

Sep 30, 2011

I would not recommend this book. The reason is that the author intersperses comments about one or another of the explorers of the post-Columbus era with his comments on Voyager. He goes out of his way to be sure to mention every Portuguese expedition you can think of, in between a paragraph or two of JPL history.

Jul 19, 2011

This would be a much better book if you are expecting a history of 16th and 17th century exploration than 20th century space exploration. The author tries to link the two and show parallels. Did not turn me on.

Nov 03, 2010

A lot of reading. Nowever, don't omit the index at the back.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PMPL

To Top