On Friday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. the US Veterans Project Library will welcome Ben Knowles to a discussion of the exciting findings of the Cassini Mission. The Cassini Spacecraft was mankind’s first orbital mission to the outer solar system. Launched in 1997, it arrived at Saturn in 2004 and remained there until its planned decommissioning in 2017.
During that time its cameras obtained hundreds of thousands of images, vastly expanding our understanding of the atmospheres, rings and moons that make up the Saturn system. In this talk, “Snapshots from Saturn,” former Cassini ISS Calibration Engineer Ben Knowles will take you on a tour of Cassini’s greatest hits, from the mysterious rotating hexagon at Saturn’s north pole to the active water geysers erupting from the icy moon Enceladus, to the awe-inspiring beauty of Saturn’s elaborate ring system, finally seen up close for the first time. Bring your curiosity and your questions!
Ben Knowles is a software engineer at Accelerated Machine Design & Engineering, LLC in Rockford, Illinois, a company which designs and builds machines for a varied range of clients and industries. Before that, he worked for 17 years for the Cassini Mission to Saturn. As Calibration Engineer for the ISS Operations team he performed data analysis to calibrate the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) on the Cassini spacecraft, helped the Imaging Team plan observations, developed the calibration pipeline known as CISSCAL, and authored the ISS Data User's Guide, a comprehensive handbook to the instrument, its data, and the algorithms facilitating its scientific use.
Ben received in M.S. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and a bachelor's degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He lives in Fort Atkinson, with his wife Diana and their daughter Addie. He currently serves as vice-president on the Fort Atkinson School Board, and organizes the “FACTalks” lecture series for the Fort Atkinson Club community center.