Moons like Marbles
January 29, 2014
A black-light portrait of the Great Galaxy in Andromeda at the Adler Planetarium first afforded me a vision of the immensity of the cosmos as a child. Later, a view of Saturn through a small telescope led me to commit myself to a career in astronomy. The most life-changing image, though, came to me in 1979 as an Assistant at the Cernan Earth and Space Theater of Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. As a media outlet, we would receive the first copies of slides generated from space probe images. I can remember staring at the attached Voyager 1 image of Jupiter, Io, and Europa, transfixed by the sight of Jupiter as a world and its moons, worlds in themselves, suspended above Jupiter like marbles. I realized then that, as a culture, we had embarked on the greatest of adventures and I wanted to be a part of it. Several years later, I joined The Planetary Society!
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.