And not just because my father worked there throughout my formative years. I just like NASA .
For instance, they find interesting and fun ways to involve the public in their adventures in space exploration.
Case in point, waaaaay back in 1995 or so, I came across, and no, I don't remember how, signature postcards addressed to the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) located almost locally, mid-way between here and LA, at the California Institute of Technology, that if they were returned in a timely manner would become part of a golden disc of collected signatures that would be included onboard the Cassini spacecraft on its journey to Saturn.
This golden disc, along with its over 205,000.engraved signatures, would eventually meet its demise by plunging into the planet itself. In some far off and distant future, I could barely imagined, the signatures of my mom, who actually died just before Cassini launched in 1997, my dad, who died ten years later, and me and my then husband of 10 years, 30 now, would all burn up in Saturn's atmosphere thereby, in my mind, allowing us to become a part of the very composition of Saturn itself.
After its highly successful 20 year journey, Cassini is now orbiting between Saturn's inner-most ring and the planet’s surface and will tomorrow, Friday September 15, 2017, meet its demise with a slow and controlled descent into Saturn's atmosphere. For me, this is bittersweet because I have been able to imagine all this time, my parents signatures traveling through space. Mine and David's too, and tomorrow that ends.
Still, tomorrow we become, in a way, a part of Saturn and that is pretty, pretty cool too. So, thank you NASA for allowing us to journey along with you in such a personal way. I am in your gratitude .And farewell sweet Cassini, you will be missed.
If you want more info, follow the link to The Grand Finale Tool Kit and do a bit of exploring yourself.