"Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

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Psia
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"Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

Post by Psia » 09/15/17

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http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41207827
The American-led Cassini space mission to Saturn has just come to a spectacular end.

Controllers had commanded the probe to destroy itself by plunging into the planet's atmosphere.
It survived for just over a minute before being broken apart.

Cassini had run out of fuel and Nasa had determined that the probe should not be allowed simply to wander uncontrolled among Saturn and its moons.

The loss of signal from the spacecraft occurred pretty close to the prediction. Here at mission control, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, the drop-off was timed at 04:55 PDT (11:55 GMT; 12:55 BST).

Nasa's Earl Maize addressed fellow controllers: "Congratulations to you all. This has been an incredible mission, an incredible spacecraft and you're all an incredible team. I'm going to call this end of mission. Project manager off the net."

The statement brought restrained applause and some comforting embraces.

The loss of signal indicated that the probe was tumbling wildly in the planet's gases. It could have survived the violence for no more than about 45 seconds before being torn to pieces.

Incineration in the heat and pressure of the plunge was inevitable - but Cassini still managed to despatch home some novel data on the chemical composition of Saturn's atmosphere.
And so ends one of the most successful space missions in history.

In its thirteen years at Saturn, Cassini has transformed our understanding of the sixth planet from the Sun.

It has watched monster storms encircle the globe; it witnessed the delicate interplay of ice particles move through the planet's complex ring system; and it revealed extraordinary new insights on the potential habitability of Saturn's moons.

Titan and Enceladus were the standout investigations.

The former is a bizarre place where liquid methane rains from an orange sky and runs into huge lakes. Cassini put a small European robot called Huygens on Titan's surface in 2005. It returned a remarkable image of pebbles that had been smoothed and rounded by the action of that flowing methane.

Cassini also spied what are presumed to be volcanoes that spew an icy slush and vast dunes made from a plastic-like sand.

On Enceladus, the observations were no less stunning.
This moon was seen to spurt water vapour into space from cracks at its south pole. The H20 came from an ocean held beneath the icy shell of Enceladus.

When Cassini flew through the water plumes, it showed that conditions in the sub-surface ocean were very probably suitable for life.

Today, scientists are already talking about how they can go back with another, more capable probe to investigate this idea further.
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Re: "Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

Post by Psia » 09/15/17

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"The food is good, the wine is excellent, the staff timely. All that is lacking is your company." - EQ2 Raven Mythic FAQ

"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." - Kirk to Picard, Star Trek Generations

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Re: "Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

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Re: "Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

Post by Psia » 09/15/17

phpBB [media]
"The food is good, the wine is excellent, the staff timely. All that is lacking is your company." - EQ2 Raven Mythic FAQ

"Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." - Kirk to Picard, Star Trek Generations

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Re: "Long Live Cassini" - the project's scientists say farewell

Post by Tregarde » 09/15/17

She was a good little probe.

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