Requiem for a Spacecraft

On Friday the 15th of September, the NASA Spacecraft Cassini will conclude its controlled descent into Saturn’s atmosphere. In the ETHOS Lab, TiP ethnographers will combine long term ethnographic research with realtime collection of the #grandfinale hashtag, and (hopefully) livestreaming from NASA as Cassini’s final communications come through from Saturn.

Marisa Cohn has conducted a long term ethnographic study of the probe, which launched in 1997 and has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. Her research explores the problems of long lived systems, the work of spacecraft engineers and particularly software developers as they stay with a problem. Rachel Douglas-Jones, working on the Data as Relation project, will speak within the research theme Temporalities of Data to discuss affective power in anthropologies of outerspace.

Cassini flyer