In 1768, when James Cook sailed out of Plymouth harbor to observe the Transit of Venus in Tahiti, the trip was tantamount to a voyage through space. The remote island had just been “discovered” a year earlier, and by all accounts it was as strange and alien to Europeans as the stars themselves. Cook’s pinpoint navigation to Tahiti and his subsequent observations of Venus crossing the South Pacific sun in 1769 have inspired explorers for centuries.
One of those explorers is about to beat Cook at his own game. High above Earth, astronaut Don Pettit is preparing to photograph the June 5th Transit of Venus from space itself.
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