2 thoughts on “Cassini’s Grand Finale

  1. Wow.

    NASA has come a long way since the days when they had to film the original Apollo landings in black & white, because the stage manager thought they were going to Mars and filled the studio with red sand….


    Really, this is truly impressive. Not so much the “F-it, done!” attitude it shows, but the _acceptance_ that sooner or later we’re done here. Cassini has done a few dives through the rings themselves, and happily has not found any elephant-like aliens from Alpha Centauri (read Footfall if you haven’t) and is now continuing the relatively safe exploration inside the rings.

    NASA has made a truly incredible probe (by modern standards. Voyager was damned impressive by 1970s standards. 4k RAM, 4k EEPROM. Never used the same data compression on any two planets.) and then said, OK, we’re done here on safe mode. Now start a several year hell dive. Yeah, it _might_ die in the rings (spoiler alert, it didn’t) but then we’ll keep getting what we can, while we can, as long as we can.

    Yeah, we still do way cool stuff.

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