The first quarter century of space exploration merely piqued his curiosity. Now NASA scientist Ellis Miner wants more.
"It seems with Voyager we learned so much about the general nature of the outer planets," he said, "but I'd like to answer the questions we've raised so far."He's sure the next 25 years will bring him the details he seeks.
Miner was assistant project scientist on the Voyager mission for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He recently transferred to the Cassini project, he said, because that spacecraft will be probing Saturn and he feels compelled to learn more about Saturn's rings.
Miner will be in Salt Lake City on Monday to help the Hansen Planetarium celebrate its 25th anniversary. The celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will include a reception, dinner party, star show and Miner's speech, "What We've Learned From 25 Years of Space Exploration."
His primary purpose in listing space discoveries, Miner said, is to help Utahns appreciate the value they get for their tax dollars. He said, "The Voyager, one of the most successful space exploration we've had, cost an average of one candy bar per taxpayer per year."
Through his work on various National Aeronautics and Space Administration missions, the alumnus of Brigham Young University and Utah State University said he feels as if he's visited every planet in the solar system except Pluto.
On the Cassini project he'll not only learn more about Saturns rings but also learn about Titan, Saturn's shrouded moon. "We'll drop a probe to Titan and also do radar mapping of the surface in much the same way Magellan is currently mapping Venus through its clouds.
"It has been conjectured the large moon of Titan is covered by liquid ethane. It would be interesting to verify that or debunk it."