At the Australian Synchrotron, electrons are shot out from an electron gun so that they are already travelling at over half the speed of light. They are then sped up further until they nearly reach the speed of light and are shot out into an inner “booster ring” to boost their energy. Once the electrons have gained enough energy, they are shot into an outer ring. Hence the affectionate nickname – the two rings form a doughnut.
The journey of La Trobe University’s Dr Courtney Ennis has been complementary to the journey of Cassini. Using the skills and insight learned throughout his journey, he has been able to use the data sent back to Earth by the Cassini space probe to develop experiments that aid our understanding of the chemistry of Titan. From telescopic observations, spacecraft missions, and experiments on Earth, he can piece together a picture of how life came to be on Earth 3.6 billion years ago.