Space Odyssey: Slingshot Past The Sun

From Mars, it was decided that the best way to build up the velocity to head out towards the outer Solar System was to head inwards, towards the Sun, bypassing Mercury.

Close encounter with the Sun

Not seen: a scene en route to Jupiter, where Pegasus has a disturbingly close encounter with an asteroid. The asteroid turns out to be a C-type binary, with the larger rock about 4km, massing about 225 million km.

Yvan predicts that the rocks will pass at about a kilometre from Pegasus, but CAPCOM swears the closes it will ever come is ten kilometres, and orders no course correction to steer clear.

The rocks come to about 920 metres of the ship, almost close enough to take off some of the paintwork. Commander Tom Kirby calls them "Hubris" and "Catastrophe," and sarcastically says "Let's hope they don't come your way."

Towards the end of this clip, Kirby mentions the dosimeter readings all in the green, all except for John Pearson's which has crept into the amber. In fact, what happens here is that John Pearson, the on-board medic, has been given a higher dose of radiation than anybody else - and tragically, he contracts terminal lymphoma as a result of this dose of radiation.

Refusing to take the chemo, which would have passed through his urinary tract and contaminated the water recycling plant, poisoning the crew), John bravely decides to forego cancer treatment. He lasts as far as Saturn (scenes of Saturn and Titan not available on YouTube), and dies while watching the rings from the observation cupola, as the flight medic, Dr Claire Granier, in Mission Control, announces "Flight ... Pearson's ECG has just flatlined."

Next >> Jupiter

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"And if we have unearned luck, now to scape the serpent's tongue, we will make amends ere long. Else the Puck a liar call ..."

So speak.