Even before the first U. S. astronaut entered space in 1961, planning for a centralized facility to communicate with the spacecraft and monitor its performance had begun, for the most part the brainchild of Christopher C. Kraft, who became NASA’s first flight director. During John Glenn’s Mercury Friendship 7 flight in February 1962 (the first crewed orbital flight by the U. S. ), Kraft was overruled by NASA managers. He was vindicated by post-mission analysis, and implemented a rule that during the mission, the flight director’s word was absolute —to overrule him, NASA would have to fire him on the spot. Flight directors during Apollo had a one-sentence job description, “The flight director may take any actions necessary for crew safety and mission success. ”
Had Jupiter continued to gain weight, it would have grown ever hotter and hotter, and ultimately self-sustaining, raging nuclear-fusing fires may have been ignited in its heart. This would have sent Jupiter down that long, shining stellar road to full-fledged stardom. Had this occurred, Jupiter and our Sun would have been binary stellar sisters, and we probably would not be here now to tell the story. Our planet, and its seven lovely sisters, as well as all of the moons and smaller objects dancing around our Star, would not have been able to form. However, Jupiter failed to reach stardom. After its brilliant, sparkling birth, it began to shrink. Today, Jupiter emits a mere.00001 as much radiation as our Sun, and its luminosity is only.0000001 that of our Star.
Only recently have space missions begun to solve this beguiling Solar System mystery--that a small number of distant moons have been successfully hiding, from the curious eyes of astronomers, life-sustaining liquid water beneath secretive shells of ice.
Saturn is a lovely planet, with its magnificent system of gossamer rings, shining moons of ice, and myriads of glimmering, frozen, dancing moonlets that twirl and somersault both inside and outside of the enchanting system of rings.