Waiting and Wondering …

Carolyn PorcoCarolyn Porco

Cassini Imaging Team Leader

I woke up unusually early this morning, on pins and needles, and looked
out my bedroom window from my house on a narrow ridge in northern
Boulder Colorado, onto the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the
town below, and wondered how the day would unfold.  I paused to let my
gaze fly, in my mind, beyond the horizon and around and over the Earth,
pulling back in `powers of ten’ fashion, imagining our planet suspended
in space.  And I thought about how remarkable the inhabitants of that
small blue world truly are, and how extraordinary their achievements
over these past 4 years have been.

Those years of intensive examination of an alien planetary system have
brought us humans to this juncture, right now, awaiting news from clear
across the solar system of the outcome of our latest bold experiment in
interplanetary maneuvering, focused on one of the most fascinating
places in our solar system… a place we never even knew existed before
we set out on this adventure.

In this painstaking work, we proceed, step by step, to lay bare those
things which hold the greatest promise of comprehension, the greatest
significance for piecing together the story of the origins of the
bodies in our solar system, our Earth, and indeed ourselves.

The images we await now are just a few of those steps.  I wonder: What
will they show?


7 thoughts on “Waiting and Wondering …”

  1. We’re also an inquisitive species with a drive to learn all we can in our short lifespans. And we’ve not yet learned patience. Hope the raw images get downloaded soon!

  2. I teach high school science (earth/space science) and your post expresses perfectly that combination of anticipation and wonder and discovery that makes science so interesting and so fun.

    I spend a lot of energy trying to convey these aspects of science as a creative process rather than a “thing” they have to learn but it is a very difficult task.

    To quote Flounder from “Animal House”, “This is gonna be GREAT!”

  3. As I sit here in Stockholm, Sweden, on vacation, but at home, with My Girl and 2 small children sleeping soundly and the rain battering my windowpanes, every time I refresh the raw images window I get a kick from being one of the first to see a new image from this strange intriguing little world.
    You guys should know the work you do inspires and excites in every corner of the globe….

    Well done!!!


  4. This post does capture the anticipation I feel when I find myself awaiting data from NASA missions — as I’ve done since I was a child in the 70’s (only then the wait was far longer). 🙂

    Thanks to Carolyn for making me feel like I do when I read Sagan. Full of wonder and hope and wanting to learn if only for the sake of learning (and for reminding me to call my friends recently moved to Boulder!).

    Best of luck with the imaging.

  5. I’ve just gotten my first glimpse at the few images that have so far been published…

    Firstly – AMAZING, well done to the entire team…Thank you for sharing the adventure.

    Also – I feel the same tingling inside that I did during the 70s when the first Voyager pictures of Jupiter’s moons were made public. How times have changed!! Web, Blogs, ability to follow the unfolding story virtually instant sec by sec.

    One other thing – We (as in anyone who views these images) are the first humans in the entire history of history to actually ‘See’ that landscape. To marvel and – more importantly – begin to understand what is going on, geologically, there.

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