Reviewed by Thomas Brown
Destination Titan provides a fascinating view into the many details that must be taken into account in order to make a space mission become a reality. The film takes the viewer behind the scenes to learn how the Cassini–Huygens space probe eventually reached Saturn’s moon, and expanded our knowledge of the solar system.
The film begins with several scientists sharing how space explorations in the 1960s and 1970s excited them and motivated them to pursue science as a career. Additionally, the film discusses the long history of the Cassini–Huygens probe. from the drawing board to its successful transmission of scientific knowledge and pictures of Titan seventeen years later. As the various scientists discuss their excitement and frustrations along the way, viewers also gain an understanding of the various political and economic challenges that these individuals faced in their quest to see their work come to fruition. Students learn how science requires individuals as well as nations to cooperate in order to achieve the goals of space research.
This video could be used in any Earth science class to help students understand the historical, political, economic, and personal costs required to create a successful scientific mission into outer space. Teachers might find this program especially useful as a way to personalize science since much of the story is told from the perspective of John Zernecki and other key scientists involved with the development and creation of the Huygens probe that was part of the Cassini space mission several years ago.
This film provides a window into the scientific process. Students witness the emotional journey of the scientists, and learn that science requires teamwork, patience, and persistence. Students come to realize that science can be very challenging as well as tremendously rewarding as they see how the Cassini mission was finally successful. This film brings science to life in a fascinating way and helps students to see that scientific knowledge is gained through hard work and not simply through laboratory hypotheses.
Review posted on 5/23/2012