When you are in Saturn

You are on board the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, and you have finally reached your destination – Saturn. You look at that yellow, misty, orb circled by breathtaking rings.   You watch the curious interplay between light and dark – the shadows of ring on planet and planet on ring, the sunlight reflecting off the clouds. How would it be if you were on the surface of the planet? The ring would arc from horizon to horizon, faintly illuminated by the sun – a permanent feature in the sky. You watch the moons, Rhea and Dione and Enceladus and much more go past the planet, and one of the largest is Titan – a world so cold that gases such as methane exist as liquids – entire lakes of liquids, complete with shorelines and rivulets. What if you were on Titan? The ground is quite slushy, the atmosphere is thick. If somebody lived there, maybe they wouldn’t even know about Saturn or stars or the sun because of the misty sky. But you could imagine a sudden and rare break through the clouds – and the sky would temporarily reveal all its wonders. Titan was perhaps how the earth was billions of years ago – will it be our new home billions of years later?

The views are still breathtaking – once you happened to pass behind the planet –  in the shadow region, the planet eclipsing the sun. And somewhere, perhaps between the rings, you see a pale blue dot. Home.