OFJ97 Field Journal from Dave Atkinson - 3/19/97Does Jupiter look any different to you now? I am sitting on a plane somewhere over the North Atlantic flying to a Cassini meeting in Cannes, France. Looking out the window I see the planet Jupiter rising in the constellation Capricorn in the predawn sky, and I notice that it doesn't quite look the same to me anymore. Now, when it shines in the night sky, a little of its light comes from Earth. Once the Galileo probe's job was done, its final act was to become part of the planet it was sent to explore. Some of the light from Jupiter now comes from atoms and molecules that started in the probe instruments and electronics on Earth. When I look at Jupiter, I know that it has now and forever a new moon, one that we built at home here on Earth.
When we look to the start we see from where we came. When we look to the planets we see worlds that were born and grew up with us. Now, when we look at Jupiter we see our past and, perhaps, some of our future. Part of Jupiter is us. I don't think I'll ever look at Jupiter quite the same way again.