Todd J. Barber, Cassini lead propulsion engineer
The one theme that kept recurring during our talk, other than John’s giddy excitement, was how marvelous the Cassini ground system, the Deep Space Network, and the fantastic radio science system on board Cassini work together to bring these unique science data to Earth. John also wanted to make sure to spread credit widely for these results, from the Italian professors who wrote the “Nature” article, the Radio Science Systems group at JPL headed up Sami Asmar, and a summer student that worked with John named Adam Richie-Halford.
As I turned to leave, I noticed an Albert Einstein bauble-head on top of John’s filing cabinet, so I asked about it. Some of John’s family friends received it in a “Happy Meal” from Mickey-D’s, but they thought John “needed it more than the kids.” If you’ll pardon the pun, Bauble-Head Al seemed to nod his head in approval at the mind-blowing science results from Cassini, so many millions of miles away. It was wonderful meeting you, John, and I wish you all the best during every Cassini conjunction and opposition. Thanks for opening my mind to the wonders of Cassini radio science! I now know conjunction isn’t just for taking vacations and catching up on sleep!