Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

Cassini Huygens Update

If you haven’t checked in on the Cassini Huygens mission lately, you really should. A good place to check is at the mission’s NASA JPL web page.

IMG001782-th100.jpgThe Cassini spacecraft is flying a complicated trajectory and is sending back absolutely stunning images.

This NASA JPL web page is jam-packed with fascinating information, including a status board that provides a countdown in days, hours, minutes, and seconds (!) till the next “encounter” with a heavenly body, like the rings of Saturn or one of Saturn’s moons. (Titan is next up - I think I’ll pop some popcorn to celebrate the event!).

It’s great stuff and reminds me nostaligically of my old fondness for space travel and its abilty to create a sense of wonder and awe.

I must admit that, the more I see of how we have the ability as humans to explore and understand the universe, the more I am in awe of the power of the Creator. Not only is the universe a vast and spectacular creation, but the power of the human mind to learn, create, and stumble incrementally towards an understanding of Creation is simultaneously humbling and inspiring. The people at NASA, the ESA, ASI, and JPL are to be congratulated for doing such inspiring work.

But all is not rosy. Even as I write this, agencies such as JPL are being cut back. Staff are being laid off. Missions are being cancelled. This is not only painful for the people whose lives will be wrecked, but the overall ability of agencies such as JPL to perform such enobling, inspiring, and peaceful non-military work is threatened. It is, indeed, a sad, bittersweet world that we live in.

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