Remember me mentioning the Cassini-Huygens deep space probe a few weeks ago? Well, as you may have seen from the news pictures today this little robotic emissary of humankind has this morning arrived in orbit around the magnificent, giant world of Saturn. In show business they say you should always make a great entrance. Well, Cassini flew right through the sparkling rings of that enomrous world – swopping right through the Cassini divisions, so to speak. In the week in which I finished reading Two Sides of the Moon (review to follow on the Alien) this was a nice reminder that space exploration, although no longer the headline-grabbing glory it was during the Space Age, is still with us and revealing not only valuable scientific data about other worlds (and thus our own) but displaying something far, far great to humanity, something infinitely more precious than mere data will ever be – a sense of wonder, awe and sheer beauty.
And while some of us ponder the day we travel far, far further than our own solar sytem comes news in New Scientist that perhaps we could have Faster than Light (FTL) travel since it may be that the speed of light, previously almost sacrosanct, may not always have been constant. Guess when folk nostalgicially recall past days when things moved at a slower pace may actually have been saying more than they realised :-).