The voyage has been perpetual; ageless.
For decades I have lived alone in the
gloom, my only companions the shy
moons and the deceptive soundlessness.
I sent back postcards of my travels—
love letters to you. I wanted you, too,
to gasp in wonder at the first sight
of Anthe; Methone; Polydeuces. I wanted
you to have the chance to bestow the
legacy of gods upon Saturn’s faithful
followers—to pass on the mythos of a
giant’s grieving daughters; to share the
story of the twin who split immortality
with his brother, amongst the stars.
Every day, my plutonium heart beat
slower, and I realized that my destiny would end
in sacrifice. I plunged into my denouement with an
oath to exploration. As I slipped between rings
and sickle for twenty-two swan songs, I wrote
you sonnets on gravity; rotational velocity
pantoums; haikus of midnight vortices. When my
time came, I sent you bitterly precious atmosphere
with my endmost exhalations. I do not apologize for
offering myself to bless your future. Inescapably, you
had to lose me. Torn apart and claimed by fire,
Saturn welcomed me home. Now, our tragic love
only lingers in the dust and data of the galaxy.
Cassini is Gone: Its Legacy and The Future [Space & Telescope]
NASA Engineer Molly Bittner Explains the Science Behind Cassini and Why It Had to Crash Into Saturn [The Ringer]
Catherine Strayhall is a nerdfighter from Kansas City and a Kansas State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Creative Writing. She is the two-time winner of the annual Sullivan Poetry Award at K-State, and her work has appeared in The Kansas City Star, elementia, and on the website of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In 2017 she created a project called “Mobile Poetry” on Facebook which features a Google Map of location-based poetry around Manhattan, Kansas.
“Last Enceladus Plume Observation” from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.