Looking up

On Wednesday an American, a Russian and a Japanese will board a Soyuz spacecraft and blast up and out of earth’s atmosphere, to join six others in orbit on the International Space Station. For those of us left behind, stifled in our fug of petty squabbles and warmongering, it’s startling to remember that people can, sometimes, rise above polarized politics, zealotry, nationalism and government gridlock.

Cassini for F&O blog
Saturn: “Jewel of the Solar System.” Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell

The Soyuz launch from a Kazakhstan base can be watched online on NASA Television, or in New York, on a giant screen in Times Square, just after 11 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile check out this image of Saturn, right, from cameras aboard the Cassini-Huygens mission. The mission is a joint venture of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The imaging team that produced it includes scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

NASA calls this shot of Saturn with its rings a “portrait.” Will it join the canon of human art? Who knows. At least, it shows what humans can do when we stop butting heads and put them together.