A new breathtaking video of the Jewel of the Solar System, Saturn, and her moons has been circulating the internet today. Saturn is gorgeous, we all know this. So what makes this video so special? It was made using ONLY NASA/JPL photos taken by the Cassini Spacecraft. No CGI, no 3D models. Just photographs.
New video of Saturn
This is Why Carolyn Porco was Star Trek‘s Science Advisor
Carolyn Porco is lead imaging scientist for the NASA Cassini mission and was also the Science Advisor for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, a role for which she has taken a lot of flack from some Trekkies. I have seen many nitpicking comments here on TrekMovie and other websites knocking Porco for the “bad science” in JJ’s film. As a scientist myself I am not about to back red matter or black hole time travel, no sir. But, if it’s really real science you want, direct your ire toward the writers (sorry, Bob & Alex!), not Porco.
Her job? Making sure scenes like the one pictured below came out gorgeous and realistic. The misdirected Trek-rage is partly the fault of the title given to her. “Science Advisor” is not quite accurate and should really be “Science Imagery Advisor”.
In the words of JJ himself:
“Carolyn and her team have produced images that are simply stunning. I’m thrilled that she will help guide our production in creating an authentic vision of space, one that immerses our audience in a visual experience as awe-inspiring as what Carolyn’s cameras have captured.”
More praise for Porco’s work from Andre Bormanis, a previous science advisor for Star Trek:
“I have known Carolyn from many years, beginning when we were both at the University of Arizona. I think she’s a great choice for the movie. Not only is she one of the world’s top planetary scientists, but she has a wonderful artistic sensibility, which is rare among scientists but indispensable for the visually-powerful storytelling that’s always been a hallmark of Star Trek.”
For quite some time now, I have wanted to set the record straight on this issue. Seeing this video floating around the interwebs gave me a great opportunity to do so. In conclusion: great job, Carolyn! Keep up the good work! Stay up to date on the latest beautiful Cassini images at the imaging lab’s website http://ciclops.org.
P.S. Bob and Alex, if you’re reading this, I know a GREAT scientist who would love to be the full-fledged science advisor for the sequel…
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