Saturday, 24 September 2011

SPACE! (The Cassini Solstice Mission)

There's a lot to be said about the Cassini Solstice Mission and how it's informed our understanding of Saturn, the discoveries and images so far have been amazing.

But despite all of that, I'd like to dedicate this post to a humble 'raw' photograph:

Isn't it pretty? (Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It was taken some 2,330,428 kilometers away pointing directly towards Saturn. No, I don't see Saturn either; but that's not the point. The point here is all the SPACE!

I was browsing through the CSM site and noticed there was a collection of 'raw images' that hadn't yet been cleaned up, 'nstuff. "Why not check them out?" I thought, clicking through to the image above which, I have to say, took my breath away. I completely missed its being overexposed, its dust speck-inspired dark blotches, its utter lack of Saturn - I saw it and went: "Wow".

Space has always held a fascination for me; not for all sparkly/spectacular stuff (although I like that too), but for the fact that it simply is. The majestic utter incomprehensibly, the HUGENESS, the vastness of space is, to my understanding, unquestionably sublime (see Ch.1 of C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man).

Looking at this picture, I am analogously caught up to the second heaven and, at the same time, I have Patrick Stewart (if you missed getting an education, click here) splitting the infinitive (again, click) as he states the awful (definitions 2, 3 & 4) task set before the Enterprise (that is, to explore SPACE!). In this grubby image I get a glimpse of the infinite; I feel closer to Heaven, closer to home, and my spirit is impressed once again with the knowledge that they are, ultimately, one and the same place; I am afforded an association with the glassy sea below the throne; and in being drawn into this overwhelming aspect of God's nature, I find who I am in relation to Him. And that's a comfort.

There's more I could say (particularly about how, were I unmarried, I would probably run away and marry Patrick Stewart's voice), but instead I'll leave you with another wonderful shot - this time the moon Enceladus rising over Saturn's rim (click here for more info):

...wow... (Courtesy of  NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

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