NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is getting a grand but hilarious opera send-off before it plunges through Saturn’s atmosphere and vaporizes Friday.
An actor from TV’s old « Star Trek: Voyager » series, Robert Picardo, says he dashed off the lyrics in about a minute, several weeks ago. He collaborated with the creative director of the Planetary Society, and, presto, « Le Cassini Opera » was born.
Picardo set the words to the instantly recognizable aria « La Donna e mobile » from Verdi’s « Rigoletto. »
While Cassini’s 20-year mission has been « a serious success,  » according to Picardo, the opera is definitely a comedy. Here’s how it opens: « Goodbye, Cassini. Your mission’s fini. Bravo, Cassini! Have some linguini. » And on it goes, paying humorous tribute.
For the record, Cassini’s program manager, Earl Maize, loves the performance.
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