March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Destination Titan (DVD)

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Black dvd cover with Saturn's moonDestination Titan. DVD. 60 min. Prod. by Open University. Dist. by Films Media Group. 2011. ISBN 978-1-621010-127-8. $169.95.
Gr 9 Up–This production documents the design of the Cassini-Huygens probe, intended to journey approximately 2 billion miles to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon that may share common characteristics with Earth in its early developmental period. The probe was engineered to collect a variety of scientific data upon entering the atmosphere and landing on the moon. Its most impressive feature was its autonomous programming because it was beyond the range of Earth’s scientists to control. The personable and energetic physicist who led the project, Dr. John Zernecki, shares his experiences of hard work, disappointment, and triumph. In the face of budget cuts, Zernecki turned to his students to help design the probe. Computer animation demonstrates the functioning of the probe and its exploration of Titan’s alien landscape, while stock footage captures the work and emotions of the scientists on Earth. This would be fascinating viewing for students interested in space exploration, and the fact that college students helped guide the mission to its successful conclusion should inspire future generations.–Ryan Henry, Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro, KY