Consider Saturn, in many ways the most wondrous planet. Color images taken by the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft of the late 70s still far outshine most of the monochrome images sent back from Cassini. The public wants to see and feel something awesome, something that tells them something new yet relatable about the universe around them. The key elements behind great nature films are amazing scenery, artistically filmed in gorgeous color, through living, moving pictures that progressively reveal those new environments to us. A rich, orchestral soundtrack amplifies the emotional story. Turn off the sound next time you view a nature show to feel the difference. So it’s not just a matter of what new worlds we should explore, but how. We should include artists, musicians and visual storytellers into the design of new missions. And we should encourage the public to participate directly by giving them access to the cameras and manipulators. We need many eyes and sensibilities to bring the story back to everyone on Earth. YouTube shows the power of such crowd sourcing. Because new missions cannot be just about pure science. They need to inspire the world.
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