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Thank You

For reminding us what technology can do. And what people can become.

Image: Members of the Cassini mission team. Cassini has benefited from the work of some 260 scientists at NASA, ESA and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), as well as several European academic and industrial contributors. Credit: JPL/Caltech.

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  • Steven Martin September 15, 2017, 9:26

    A job well done. The loss-of-signal moment as captured during the NASA TV broadcast was very moving.

  • ljk September 15, 2017, 9:44

    Two articles on the end of Cassini…


    To quote:

    It’s 13-year mission to explore the strange world of Saturn went on nearly a decade longer than planned. It completed 293 orbits of the planet, snapped 400,000 photos, collected 600 gigabytes of data, discovered at least seven new moons, descending into the famed rings and sent its Huygens lander to a successful 2005 touchdown on the surface of yet another moon, Titan.

    First, Cassini had to get to Saturn. The year it blasted off, 1997, the “Information Superhighway” was just getting up to speed. By the time it arrived, in 2004, people were fretting over what to reveal on their Facebook profiles.


  • ljk September 15, 2017, 10:19

    The narrow agenda and just plain ignorance when it comes to space science of the news media is more than just an annoyance. Let all of us who care about expanding human horizons and knowledge remain vigilant against this.


    I only wish that Tyson had told Lauer that Americans spend almost as much annually on chewing gum as they did on that one Saturn probe, which of course did a lot more than just explore a singular planet. That probably would have sunk into his skull a bit.

    • Jeff Wright September 22, 2017, 16:39

      I’m more angry at Kaku and the anti-nukes whou would have killed this probe. 1997 was a bad year. We had two nice comets–but STS was only doing laps–Delta II sounding rockets–and Mir falling out of the sky. Cassini was said to be one of the last super-probes–and boy–howdy–did the nati-nukes go antifa

  • Lepton September 15, 2017, 10:48

    Voyager 2, Cassini, Kepler and LISA, my beloved spacecrafts, RIP.

    • ljk September 15, 2017, 11:39

      Voyager 2 and Kepler are not quite dead yet.

      Voyager 2 is still returning data on the outer Sol system and will soon penetrate into true interstellar space just as its twin did in 2012. Their RTGs should be able to give them enough power to transmit until around 2030.

      Kepler has a new objective called K2 searching for more exoplanets. That satellite is funded and should last until 2018 when its reaction attitude gas is expected to run out.

      So rejoice!

      • John walker September 15, 2017, 14:35

        You mean LISA pathfinder of course. LISA is set to launch around 2034. That will be great!

        • ljk September 15, 2017, 16:44

          Great so long as you don’t mind waiting 17 years just for it to be launched.

          • Lepton September 17, 2017, 6:17

            You are right and I know that as well.

            When I said RIP, I meant, grand tour for V2, K1 and original plan for LISA.

  • Ashley Baldwin September 15, 2017, 12:18

    Goodbye and God Bless.

  • andy September 15, 2017, 13:16

    I’m reminded of a scene in one of Alastair Reynolds’s novels (Redemption Ark I think, unfortunately I no longer own it to check) where a character buries her father in a gas giant, and says some words along the lines of “you were right, it is an amazing place”.

    Congratulations to everyone involved with the Cassini mission, it’s definitely shown us some amazing places. Maybe one day we will be able to retrieve Huygens and put it in a museum.

    • Paul Gilster September 15, 2017, 13:24

      Yes, I think it was Redemption Ark. Another of those unforgettable Alastair Reynolds moments…

      • ljk September 15, 2017, 14:16

        In the novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey, written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1968, Dave Bowman has the crew of the USS Discovery “buried” on Saturn by aiming their bodies at the planet. He takes some bittersweet satisfaction in knowing that his friend Frank Poole will reach Saturn before any other human being, including the three astronauts who were in hibernation aboard the spaceship.

        Anybody else buried on or around Saturn in fiction? Of course in reality we have Clyde Tombaugh being the first human to technically leave the Sol system via New Horizons in the form of some of his ashes. And Eugene Shoemaker became the first person to be “buried” on the Moon via the impact of Lunar Prospector in 1999: The probe had some of his ashes aboard.

  • John walker September 15, 2017, 14:31

    A fantastic team effort. I’m very sentimental with personal relationships, but admit anthropomorphising an assemblage of tech is not my thing. I felt moved for those for whom this was the closing of a major chapter in their lives. A heart felt thanks to all involved!!

  • Rex September 19, 2017, 8:38

    Congratulations to everyone involved with the Cassini mission