Ask Carolyn Porco Anything You Want About Planetary Exploration!

Illustration for article titled Ask Carolyn Porco Anything You Want About Planetary Exploration!

Carolyn Porco, the leader of the Imaging Experiment on NASA's Cassini mission, is here to answer your questions about exploring other planets, what we know about planetary rings, Saturn's moon Encleadus, and looking for life in our solar system.

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Much of her research has focused on the how, why, and what of planetary rings, including an arc of rings around Neptune that she discovered. Currently, she's also focusing on Enceladus, Saturn's tiny moon with the big ocean — and a good candidate for being able to support life.

Besides leading the Cassini imaging experiment mission in its quest to get a closer look at Saturn, Porco has also worked as an imaging scientist on both Voyager's mission to the edges of our solar system and on the New Horizons trip to Pluto.

She'll be joining us from 11:00 a.m. - noon (Pacific time). So start asking her questions now about what we can see on Saturn, the inner workings of planetary rings, exploring other worlds, and just what's going on up on Enceladus.

Top Image: The Day The Earth Smiled, one of the many images of Saturn that Porco has been responsible for over the past decade (which you can see more of over at CICLOPS) / NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

DISCUSSION

annaleenewitz
Annalee Newitz

The science fiction author Iain M. Banks was famous for saying that when it comes to space colonization, planets are a terrible waste of matter. What he meant was that humans with the technology to explore space would be more likely to live in artificial environments that they built out of planets, moons, or other matter. I'm curious about what you think of this idea. Given what we know of explanets so far, do you think future humans more likely to live in vast, human-friendly space stations than on the surface of a moon or another planet?