The Jovian system proves to be a nearly insurmountable challenge for the Pegasus crew, as they endure more gravitational pull from Jupiter than anticipated by the engineers who designed the trajectory. Furthermore, a manned landing on Io nearly proves disastrous, and all the surface samples collected must be abandoned to save lives. An unmanned lander is sent to Europa before Pegasus departs for Saturn.
The most eagerly anticipated part of the Saturn flyby is another unmanned probe, this time dispatched to Titan, but its electrical systems fail prior to landing, and no samples are returned. But the worst setback at Saturn is the death of astronaut John Pearson from cancer caused by solar radiation exposure. Despite this tragic loss, the crew opts to extend their tour by three years to become the first humans to walk on Pluto. Their visit to a comet on its way back toward the sun is less successful, nearly destroying both Pegasus and its crew. If the surviving crew can repair the damage to the ship, there’s one last planetary stop on the mission plan: Earth.
Cast: Martin McDougall (Tom Kirby), Rad Lazar (Yvan Grigorev), Joanne McQuinn (Zoë Lassard), Mark Dexter (John Pearson), Michelle Joseph (Nina Sulman), Mark Tandy (Alex Lloyd), Helene Mahieu (Claire Grainer), Colin Stinton (Flight Director), John Schwab (CAPCOM), Lourdes Faberes (FIDO), David Suchet (Narrator)
Notes: “Technical sets” were provided by Brick Price’s WonderWorks, a Los Angeles-based model and prop house founded in the 1970s, specializing in accurate sets and models of actual spacecraft (though one of Price’s first gigs in the industry was to design props and build the exterior of the Enterprise for the abandoned late ‘70s Star Trek: Phase II television series, which eventually morphed into Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Though they’re used as portions of a newly-built spacecraft, existing sets of the International Space Station “corridor” and the window-filled cupola module were rented to the BBC for this production. The premise of Voyage To The Planets was later optioned for a more fanciful take on the subject matter for American television, eventually emerging as the much more fictional series Defying Gravity.