Where Does Nature Begin and End? - Images of Saturn from the Cassini Probe

Something fascinating for your Friday. 

Image via New York Times

Image via New York Times

Perhaps you've seen recent news of a NASA probe tasked with investigating Saturn. It has been in the news because the mission has come to an end; a mission which concluded with the probe descending towards the surface of Saturn, burning up in the atmosphere. 

So much of this story completely blows my mind along with bringing up a question regarding what we know as nature. First some logistics to think about that are insane.

  • The probe was launched in 1997 and only just recently finished its' mission
  • Saturn is nearly a BILLION miles from earth
    • The fact that the probe can take and send pictures back to us from that far boggles my mind
  • The Cassini probe circled Venus twice, using the gravitational pull to build speed and slingshot towards Saturn
  • The planning of logistics and technology behind the planning of a mission this long and complex seem like something out of a fantasy. 
  • Saturn has a perpetual storm that takes the shape of a hexagon!

This video from NPR is a great overview of the whole mission with some amazing imagery. 

The New York Times also has a great article with some fantastic photographs.  

Looking over this video and the images, especially the image of the perpetual storm that takes the shape of a hexagon makes me ponder a question that has never come to mind previously:

Just where does "nature" begin and end? Is it only know of what we experience here on earth? Or does it extend out into the cosmos where we see solar flares and storms like this that take an actual shape?

Saturn_hexagonal_storm_nature.png

I am always open to changes in thought, but things like the moon, solar flares, and the rotation of other planets do affect us, so at this point I do storms taking place on Saturn as "nature". In what way does this affect us a billion miles away? I'm not sure but I do believe in the possibility that this is all connected. I mean, a permanent hexagon storm? Wow, just wow. 

Related - Perfection in Nature and How it Relates to Our Experience