Imagine for a moment, working on the same thing for over 20 years of your professional career only to see it end as a loss of signal from a piece of hardware over a billion miles away because you intentionally sent it careening into the object the the mission intended to observe.
That is what leads to images like the one above – the end of the Cassini mission that has been exploring Saturn and it’s moons since 2004 after leaving earth in 1997.
In case you haven’t heard what happened at Saturn amidst all the idiocy happening on this planet. The team working on the Cassini Mission chose to plunge the spacecraft into Saturn in order to reduce the risk of the spacecraft crashing on one of Saturn’s moons and potentially contaminating a moon that might have life.
I find it interesting that this team seems to have more concern for objects a billion miles away from Earth than many people and corporations do for areas on this planet.
It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, humans can care about the world and the universe in which we live to make a decision that while personally difficult and painful is in the best interest of the bigger picture.
Cassini is was a probe launched in 1997 to explore Saturn and it’s moons. The original planned mission was supposed to be four years in duration once it reached Saturn in 2004.
It continued to gather data about Saturn until it’s final, intentional plunge into the planet 20 years from it’s launch on September 15, 2017.
There’s not too many government activities you can point to that continue to add value for twice as long as their intended life.
I would like to thank these people for making Cassini happen and for getting us a bit more information about the universe in which we live.
If you would like to know more about Cassini, goto NASA’s Cassini Site. While you’re there, check out what else NASA is up to.
Also published on Medium.