Human Ingenuity and Saturn's Gas Swirls

When I saw the brilliant rolling colors in this infrared picture of Saturn's gases, a smile of joy spread across my face.  Human ingenuity had brought joy roughly 1.2 billion kilometers away to an earthling.  How?

On October 15, 1997, a collaboration between Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency sent the Cassinin-Huygens (called Cassini) probe to study Saturn, it’s rings and natural satellites.  It has been described as a “ “mission of firsts” that has revolutionized human understanding of the Saturn system and our understanding of where life might be found in the Solar System.”

In a joint effort, American and Europeans worked together on a common goal and accomplished the seemingly impossible.  When Cassini arrived in 1997, the probe’s radio signals, traveling at the speed of light, took 1 hour and 24 minutes to reach Earth.  An enormous amount of data has been gathered.

It took commitment, discipline and listening to each other for the large team to work together for 20 years.  Their effort is a gift to all of us especially given the divisive times we live in.  

Yes, we can do this.  

Relative to the size of our galaxy, we’re each a speck on a larger speck with enormous potential. Together we have the capacity to reach beyond self-limiting concepts and create possibilities for the generations to come.

Although the Cassini was de-orbited and burned up in Saturn's upper atmosphere on September 15, 2017, the probe's data and pictures will continue providing invaluable knowledge for many, many years.

May we humans have the spirit and heart to work together, to learn about the mysteries of our universe within and without, and to create more harmony on our wondrous planet.

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