Don’t you just love the poetry and romance and scandal that is tangled up in scientific discovery? Stop rolling your eyes – I’m serious!
The Juno spacecraft, which reached its intended orbit earlier this month, is named after Jupiter’s wife, who was able to see through the clouds that the god conjured up to hide his indiscretions. And the moons of Jupiter, named by Kepler (though discovered by Galileo), bear the names of Jupiter’s lovers. Now, 400 years after those moon-names were chosen, Juno finally arrives on the scene! It’s the longest, geekiest soap opera in history.
AND this gives us the chance to know about Susan Finley, 79 years old, who started at NASA in 1958, before it was NASA. Finley was listening to Juno’s “song” when it came through on July 4 – heard via software that she helped to develop. Can you imagine hearing the tones reporting a 500 million mile arrival, thanks to your own sonic-puzzle-solving code?
AND this gives us all an excuse to listen to “Moons of Jupiter” by late-80’s Boston musical sensation Scruffy the Cat, which is worth the billion-plus price tag right there.
There has been a lot written about this mission lately, and I found this National Geographic summary especially fun to read. These NY Times & Popular Science articles on Susan Finley & the space-signal tones are fascinating, and I can’t wait to read Rocket Girls to learn more about her and her contemporaries.
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