Cool image time! The photo at the right, reduced to show here, was taken by Cassini on October 28, 2016 as it was shifting its orbit to prepare for the spacecraft’s last year at Saturn, where it will make repeated dives down past and even inside the gas giant’s rings. As they note at the link,
No Earth-based telescope could ever capture a view quite like this. Earth-based views can only show Saturn’s daylit side, from within about 25 degrees of Saturn’s equatorial plane. A spacecraft in orbit, like Cassini, can capture stunning scenes that would be impossible from our home planet.
It is interesting to compare this image with this July image. Comparing the two provides a sense of Cassini’s travels.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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