December 16, 2004
In this dramatic Cassini mural, the mythological Roman god Saturn is represented as the symbol of Time, drawing back a veil to allow the Cassini spacecraft to reveal the mysteries of the vast Saturnian system. In the earliest 7th Century BC mythology, this god was first called Kronos, who attacked his father Uranus with a sickle to become king of the universe. He was later overthrown by Zeus, who ruled from Mount Olympus. Since the earliest times, the Romans worshipped Saturn as their god of agriculture. Later, when the Romans accepted the Greek pantheon, Saturn was identified with Kronos. Eventually, Saturn became associated with time, and was often depicted with wings and a scythe.
The mural also shows the Cassini spacecraft firing its main engine to brake into orbit about the planet Saturn on July 1, 2004.
Beneath the spacecraft lies the vast sheet of orbiting icebergs and particles that make up the magnificent rings of Saturn. Nearly transparent images of the spacecraft and the Huygens Titan probe are also painted on the mural to represent key moments in the mission several months after the spacecraft has entered Saturn orbit.
The Cassini mural embodies a cultural blend of art and science made possible by a joint undertaking between Cassini personnel and the Academia de Arte Yepes in Los Angeles. Eight young Hispanic master painters (Abel Gonzales, Daniel Gonzales, Octavio Gonzales, Francisco Vasquez, Gabriel Estrada, Juan Solis, Rebeca Robles and lead artist Ulysses Garcia) were guided during the mural creation by Charles Kohlhase of the Cassini Project.
For a high resolution image, click here.