On Cassini and Persistence

“Between 1671 and 1684, however, Cassini discovered no fewer than four additional Saturnian satellites…” 

— I. Asimov, “Asimov’s New Guide to Science”

Having read that short passage in the book, I began to think of what it actually meant for Cassini — observing a single planet for a period of at least 13 years during which he (amongst other things) managed to find four new satellites for Saturn. I can’t tell much else about this, but one thing is sure — Cassini must have loved what he was doing, or it would be someone else whose name I’d have quoted there.

It is a bit odd for me to think that such perseverance exists — while there have been hundreds and thousands of [millions of] people who have no doubt done what they wished to do no matter what the results to themselves, then this stellar enterprise (in the best meaning of the term) outshadows them (and I am sure there are even more notable instances of the same happening).

For me, the idea of having such work, such effort, and such dedication put into the discovery and exploration of Saturn, lifts Saturn itself. It might be that [whenever I remember that from now on] when I look upon Saturn I see the effort put into it reflecting back at me.


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