"Some of the most awesome Real Programmers of all work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Many of them know the entire operating system of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft by heart. With a combination of large ground-based FORTRAN programs and small spacecraft-based assembly language programs, they are able to do incredible feats of navigation and improvisation -- hitting ten-kilometer wide windows at Saturn after six years in space, repairing or bypassing damaged sensor platforms, radios, and batteries. Allegedly, one Real Programmer managed to tuck a pattern-matching program into a few hundred bytes of unused memory in a Voyager spacecraft that searched for, located, and photographed a new moon of Jupiter.

The current plan for the Galileo spacecraft is to use a gravity assist trajectory past Mars on the way to Jupiter. This trajectory passes within 80 +/-3 kilometers of the surface of Mars. Nobody is going to trust a PASCAL program (or a PASCAL programmer) for navigation to these tolerances."

from "Real Programmers don't use PASCAL" by Ed Post, 1990

Scene rendered with satvoy.pov (see below)

POVRAY scenes:


Download Winzip file:

NASA pictures:


LINK: Voyager Project Homepage

LINK: Voyager This Week

LINK: 30 Year Plan for Voyager

  Comment: In the .pov-sources, the dimensions of the objects are not "realistic". I took the sizes, structure and colors of objects from NASA pictures. In satvoy.pov, they are just arbitrarily arranged to render the picture above. The voyager.pov and saturn.pov files show the single objects. Unfortunately, the NASA pictures were not so good, maybe there are better pictures elsewhere.