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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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I can has job still! [20080415|16:48]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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NASA Extends Cassini's Grand Tour of Saturn.

It's officially official, and none too soon as the last sequence of the prime mission terminates July 2, 2008.

We're already in the thick of science planning for the extended mission (XM). I, for instance, am working on a sequence that doesn't execute until late September. I would have been slightly miffed if the extension hadn't been approved.

Now we'll see if we get an extended extended mission (XXM - No really). Hey, it took us seven years to get the darn thing to the planet, we might as well get the most out of it while it's still functional. 2012, here we come.

Poll #1171529 Cassini's ending

If you were in charge, what would you do with Cassini at the end of the mission?

Crash it into Saturn. Preferably during an auroral storm. FOOM!
4(14.8%)
Crash it into a potentially life-supporting moon (Titan or Enceladus) so we can find it when we colonize.
5(18.5%)
Crash it into an icy satellite, give alien archaeologists something to puzzle over.
4(14.8%)
Zing it out into deep space, a la Voyager.
5(18.5%)
Turn it off and let it orbit peacefully for hundreds of years. Saturn's already got 60 moons anyway
3(11.1%)
Other, described in text box.
6(22.2%)

I can't believe you didn't give us ticky, but here is my alternative Cassini termination scheme anyway.

linkReply

Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-16 08:11 (UTC)
Yes, fairly. Both were powered by RTGs (radioisotope thermoelectric generators).
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2008-04-15 16:21 (UTC)
Sounds like I should buy you a drink too !
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-16 08:11 (UTC)
Then we each get two. Win!
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[User Picture]From: taische
2008-04-15 18:11 (UTC)

"Dead dead" or "mostly dead"?

Might it still be serviceable after XXM? If so, is there any mode that might keep it listening should someone want to try to wake it up and use one or another system in the future?

Update:

I just called a friend at Goddard who works in the ground networks section and it turns out that Cassini requires the big (and very expensive-to-maintain) 70m DSN dish in the S-band. It just occurred to me that there might be a much cheaper way to do this; I won't have time to sit down to do any analysis until next weekend or the one following, but I'll keep you posted.

... and congratulations!!!!

Edited at 2008-04-15 06:37 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-16 10:28 (UTC)
I think that fuel probably won't be a problem, but as you say, access to the DSN would be much more difficult to swing. Even now, it's probably the most inefficient part of sequence design, just because it takes so much effort to negotiate the use of it.

...and Thank You! dons beret, does a dance
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-04-16 10:29 (UTC)
Cassini flew by Jupiter on its way to Saturn, so that makes it all right. :-D
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