Bye Bye Cassini

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Space is often poetic. I’ve spent many a night staring up at the starts, thinking about how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. While that sounds depressing, it’s a good way for me to stop stressing about at A- I got on that test of that jerk who cut me off on the freeway, or how my shirt and skirt clashed.

Whatever created all this, be it the Big Bang, God, or Gaia, you’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool that humans even exist. Even more, we literally come from the stars.

My #MCM every week, Carl Sagan, summed up my feelings pretty well when he said “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

My #WCW Kesha also put it nicely in her new song Spaceship with the line “I’m nothing more than recycled stardust and borrowed energy, born from a rock, spinning in the aether.” I never thought I’d quote Carl Sagan and Kesha right after each other, but here I am. I’m not sorry.

Add on to this that humans like to anthropomorphize objects, and we get an almost deification of our space travelers. Did you know that Curiosity sings itself happy birthday every year? I cried when I heard that.

And now we come to one of my favorite space probes: Cassini. Cassini was a shared project between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. While not being the first probe to go to Saturn (it was the 4th), it was the first to enter its orbit and check out Saturn’s gorgeous rings. It was launched in 1997, making it the same age as Kylie Jenner.

While the primary mission was to check out Saturn itself, what I’m most excited about was its second mission. It brought along a lander, called the Huygens module, successfully landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. This was the first time we landed something on an object in the outer solar system. This is interesting because Titan has liquid on it, making it possible for like to exist there. Aliens! Exciting! I think I’ll talk about Titan next week, but just know that it one of the most likely places for life outside of our dear Earth.

 

What I think makes Cassini most poetic is its ending. Last Friday, in an event, called the Grand Finale, Cassini dramatically threw itself into Saturn’s atmosphere, burning it up. This had to be the end because if there is any life out there, we don’t want Cassini to run into it and possibly destroy it with our Earth germs. Cassini died a warrior’s death, and it will be missed.

About The Author

Just a girl who has a lot of feelings about planetary science

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