Saturn Excites

It was standing room only last night at the University as people turned out in their hundreds to join Martin Griffiths and Explore Saturn, as the iconic planet made its closest approach to Earth this year.

The Cassini spacecraft continues to return images of the planet and its moons in unprecedented detail. I was particularly inspired by the surface detail of the moon Hyperion.

In these days when so many areas of science seem to be dominated by ethical issues and commercial pressure* it is heartening to find that voyages of discovery are still possible, whose aim is to return to the very basis of scientific endevour – observing the features of the physical universe and attempting to explain them.

A study of the history of science by examining the development of astronomy is what gave balance to my Degree; combining academic study with a sense of wonder.

One comment


    January 28, 2006

    While your argument that the budget for space exploration is considerably lower than the military budget is sound, I still find it somewhat difficult to justify a multi-billion dollar investment for nothing more than observing and explaining the universe.

    Surely the other benefits of the space program justify the budget, especially in light of a junior Mastermind contestant’s comment this week that while he finds the space program fascinating, he feels that terrestrial problems should take priority. The short-sightedness of people who do not realise that the space program may provide these very solutions is astounding – overpopulation and resource depletion are two prominent terrestrial issues (among many others) that are only likely to find feasible solutions through the exploration and colonisation of extra-terrestrial worlds.

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