There have a been a lot of great things that have come from the global exposure over the past couple of weeks. But one thing for me stands out. When I was in high school, I had good math/science scores and thought I wanted to be scientist. In fact I was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984 – but could not afford to go.
But I quickly discovered I’m an artist not a scientist – and after seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey”, I was called to be a filmmaker. But one doubt that occasionally pops up for me is that “art does not really matter” – that making films does not cure cancer or feed starving people.
So it was a real thrill for me when Prof. Mark McCaughrean, Head of the Research & Scientific Support Department, European Space Agency (ESA), emailed me asking for permission to use the clip in his presentations, including updating European governments on ESA’s work. ESA is a critical part of the Cassini-Huygens Mission. ESA was responsible for the amazing Huygens lander which successfully put down on Saturn’s moon Titan, delivering stunning images and data. Many European scientists are deeply involved in various aspects of the mission overall.
Future missions to explore our solar system require the whole globe – it’s too much for any one country. And it’s often hard to excite governments and voters about the value of these amazing missions. If this clip – and ultimately the finished film – can be just a small part of expanding space exploration, then I feel I can truly give back to all the scientists whose lifelong work has allowed us to see these incredible images.