Two Eagles are sent to intercept an unknown artificial object on a direct course for the moon. The object emits an unusual energy which cripples both Eagles. Alan Carter is able to pull his ship away and return to Moonbase Alpha, while the second Eagle is destroyed. Then a remarkable signal is received: the object is none other than the Earth-launched Voyager 1 unmanned probe. Powered by the Queller atomic drive, Voyager 1 overpowers everything that comes in close contact with it – leaving Koenig with mere hours before the probe destroys Moonbase Alpha. Bergman is unable to find any way to shut down the Queller drive from a distance. But Koenig is stunned when an Alpha scientist, Dr. Linden, comes forward and quietly admits that he is actually Queller, the inventor of the overpowered drive. Queller thinks he can find the means to shut down Voyager 1’s engine without destroying the probe or its wealth of information gathered in deep space. But some members of Alpha’s crew, including Paul Morrow, would have a grudge to settle with Queller is Koenig released the man’s identity: Queller’s Voyager 2 probe exploded after liftoff, killing many innocent civilians, including Morrow’s father and the parents of “Linden”‘s own lab assistant. Even if Queller can figure out how to disable his nuclear engine, will he live to put his idea into practice when his assistant learns his identity?
written by Johnny Byrne
directed by Bob Kellett
music by Barry Gray
additional music by Vic Elms
Guest Cast: Jeremy Kemp (Dr. Linden), Barry Stokes (Jim Haynes), Prentis Hancock (Paul Morrow), Clifton Jones (David Kano), Zienia Merton (Sandra Benes), Anton Phillips (Dr. Mathias), Nick Tate (Alan Carter), Alex Scott (Aarchon), Lawrence Trimble (Pilot Abrams)
Notes: This episode features a Voyager 1 unmanned probe, but it’s not the real thing. This episode’s Voyager 1 probe is a bulky craft (resembling, more than anything, the Viking Mars-landing probes of the 1970s) launched in 1985, powered by atomic engines. The real Voyager 1 (seen at right) was launched in 1977 alongside its sister ship, Voyager 2. It had small maneuvering engines, but it did, in fact, draw its operating power from three radioisotope thermonuclear generators which passively generated power from the decay of radioactive material (since the Voyager probes’ distance from the sun makes solar power generation impractical). So, while the shape and specifics of Space: 1999’s Voyager probes are off, this episode anticipated the NASA/JPL Voyager probes with a fair degree of accuracy. (It’s also worth noting, however, that the Voyager probes had been in planning since the late 1960s.) This episode is also notable for featuring Jeremy Kemp, who played Captain Picard’s brother Robert in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
LogBook entry by Earl Green