Cassini!

Cassini!

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ventured Wednesday into the never-before-explored region between Saturn and its rings.

But flight controllers won’t know how everything went until Thursday when they are back in touch with the craft.

Cassini was out of radio contact with Earth as it became the first spacecraft to enter the gap between Saturn and its rings. That’s because its big dish antenna was maneuvered face forward to protect science instruments from potentially damaging particles in the rings. The antenna could sustain minor damage like a small hole and still function properly, according to officials.

“We’re in a waiting period right now,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division. “We won’t know for a number of hours until Cassini gets in a position where it can radio back home, and so that’s one of those things that keeps us on pins and needles.”

If Cassini survives this first round, it will make 21 more crossings before its demise in September. The gap between Saturn’s atmosphere and its rings is relatively narrow: 1,200 miles, or 1,900 kilometers.

“We’re all crossing our fingers saying, ‘Oh, geez, I hope we hear from it’—and we will,” added guidance and control engineer Joan Stupik.

Cooooool!

Awesome image gallery

Sky Harbor is perhaps thinking about this very event right now. We just can’t know. The current status of Sky Harbor is even more mysterious than that of Cassini. He’s plunging through some rings of his own right now, but with no dedicated team or telemetry to keep him on course. Goodspeed, Kurt Howard.

Night Will Fall.

Netflix is showing this extremely powerful documentary about the suppressed Bernstein/Hitchcock Holocaust film made in 1945.

This footage is profoundly moving. I could only watch it in short segments, and never before bed. Perhaps I am moved more than most would be; a tour of Dachau as a child imprinted heavily in me a deep hatred of all things Nazi. Still, Night Will Fall is brilliantly plain, a simple presentation of truth that cannot possibly fail to move all but the least human of humans.

Netflix’s timing of this release is prescient, and an important act that reveals there is someone at home there who knows what is happening to us.

Godwin’s law is dead. Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are two sides of the same bloody coin; they are functioning psychopaths, men who would (if no one stops them) fill the world with piles of discarded human beings. Whether it is their programming or biochemistry, nature or nurture, they are of the same archetype as the string of minor Nazis that (because no one stopped them) filled Europe with corpses.

It’s a serious film. Made me cry, couldn’t help it. It rings like a warning bell. It’s a window to a possible future. Human beings who scorn empathy, who revile the concept of human brotherhood, who play with the politics of fear and death and then brag at the party of their indifference — they are the same as the men who came before.

Brace for it.