Cassini-Huygens

Woo! First pictures (and data) back from Titan.

Plenty of animated babble on News 24. I have to give them credit for the time they’re devoting to it, even if the presenters don’t entirely seem to know what to do with the story, or why it’s important. Lots of friendly sound-bytes about how Titan’s atmosphere may be a primordial soup “time capsule” resembling ancient Earth, but very little context about what Titan looks like, how big it is, where it is, how it compares to other objects in the solar system.

My main niggle so far is that we’re getting endless showings of CGI simulations of the mission, but not a single one of the genuinely beautiful pictures of Saturn and its moons which Cassini has sent back to date. Genuine pictures of other worlds. Yes, they’re covering the Titan landing and yes, the lander had some British involvement, but from watching the TV you’d think Cassini’s only purpose was as a glorified delivery van for a good old British probe.

Still, the enthusiasm of the scientists comes across well, and it’s nice to see some scientific “good news” on the television for a change.

EDIT: Oooh, purdy… Have you ever noticed how artist’s concepts of bits of the Solar System are always really spectacular, full of jagged pillars of rock and dramatic canyons… and then the actual pictures look like the beach at Scarborough? First the Moon, then Mars, now Titan. Of course, for me I can’t help looking at the pictures in context so I’m still thinking “wow, cool!” because it’s, y’know a vastly distant moon orbiting Saturn with its own atmosphere and a distinct shortage of day-trippers and ice-cream vans.

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