Updated: Jun 25
Sunday, we salute Dr Spilker, whose career at NASA/JPL spans impressive decades, beginning with the Voyager mission, then onto the Cassini Mission who was lead project scientist. And as of last year, she returned as deputy scientist on the Voyager Mission with scientist Ed Stone.
Dr Spilker has participated in NASA and international planetary missions for over four decades. Her mission roles have grown to encompass mission leadership as well as design, planning, operation and scientific data analysis.
Dr Linda Spilker - Lead Scientists for NASA's Cassini Mission
In 2018, Linda and I came into each other's orbit thanks to the lead project scientist of the Europa clipper mission Dr Pappalardo who introduced my symphony to her and shared a TEDx Youth talk I gave earlier that year.
Linda became very interested in the project and invited me to talk at the 71st Cassini project scientists meeting at NASA/JPL that year. I jumped at the chance, flew to Los Angeles that summer, and presented at the famous Von Karman Auditorium.
It was a "pinch me" moment.
And over these years, Linda has provided incredible opportunities to present my project at prestigious science symposiums such as the EPSC-DPC Science congress in Geneva 2019, where she was the Executive committee chair and Dr Jean-Pierre Lebreton.
Falkenberg at EPSC with Dr Linda Spilker, Tom Spilker and Dr Jean-Pierre Lebreton
Linda also created an opportunity for me to present the music and message of the 7th movement at the special Carl Sagan Award ceremony, where Dr Carrie Nugent was awarded the Medal for excellence in public communications.
Both Linda and Astronaut Nicole Stott have also introduced me to the remarkable Mat Kaplan, host and producer of THE PLANETARY SOCIETY radio show, where Linda, Nicole and I were in conversation about THE MOONS SYMPHONY last year.
Click on the image below to hear our conversation
During the creative phase of the project, crafting the science into the symphony, I have leaned on Linda's incredible wealth of knowledge and drawn from her first-hand experiences with these mind-blowing missions.
Linda was especially helpful in talking me through the detective-like chain of events at Enceladus that led to the magnificent discovery. More details on that story will soon follow later.
Von Karman Auditorium July 2018 Credit: Paul Myer Hopkins
And as I write this entry on British soil, having just landed in London yesterday, I am delighted to make an announcement. In 20 days, Linda and her husband, Tom Spilker, are flying to London to attend the historic MOONS SYMPHONY professional recording.
And that will also be a PINCH ME MOMENT watching Linda's reaction when the musicians perform when we listen together as the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop brings the story of this compelling moon of Saturn, Enceladus, to life.