500 Light Years To Jupiter

Captain Mark Roland was a test pilot and astronaut whose name has disappeared from the space archives. He was the only man aboard the ill-fated Jupiter flight which took place during the 'space race' of the Cold War when the world's major powers battled for supremacy in space flight capability. 


The mission ran into difficulties soon after the rocket ship left the Earth's atmosphere and hurtled into deep space. Because of the political importance of such a major disaster and the embarrassment it would cause to the space program, the incident was kept secret and never made public.

It is difficult to contemplate now, but at this time technological superiority was considered the main criteria of national security. It is a travesty that the pilot was never credited with the full honours he deserves. It is also an eerie thought that after all this time, the lost spaceship could still be continuing on it's unknown course today.

Time at the wheel

Through the dark and empty skies

I gently sail

No wind, no sound and still

Five hundred light years to Jupiter


Stars drifting by

I watch them on the video

As I fly

Like jewels that paint the sky

Five hundred light years to Jupiter


I can't wait to see your face

But I'm a million miles from home

I'm lost in time and space

And I miss you so


Planet Jupiter

The planet Jupiter has been known since ancient times. It is visible to the naked eye in the night sky and can occasionally be seen in the daytime when the Sun is low. The Romans named it after their god Jupiter. It has 67 natural satellites or moons. Of these, 51 are less than 10 kilometres in diameter and have only been discovered since 1975. The four largest moons, visible from Earth with binoculars on a clear night, are known as the "Galilean moons". They are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Several spacecraft have performed planetary flyby maneuvers that brought them within observation range of Jupiter. The early Pioneer missions obtained the first close-up images of the planet's atmosphere and several of its moons. Later the Voyager missions vastly improved the understanding of the Galilean moons and discovered Jupiter's rings. They also confirmed that the Great Red Spot was anticyclonic. Comparison of images showed that the Red Spot had changed hue since the Pioneer missions, turning from orange to dark brown. As the spacecraft passed behind the planet, it observed flashes of lightning in the night side atmosphere. So far the only spacecraft to orbit Jupiter is the Galileo orbiter, which went into orbit around Jupiter in 1995. It orbited the planet for over seven years, conducting multiple flybys of all the Galilean moons.

500 Light Years To Jupiter Copyright (c) Steve Nielson All Rights Reserved