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Cassini's Extended-Extended Mission, July 2010-June 2017
ngunn
post Feb 4 2010, 02:25 PM
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A generous lifespan - an immortal legacy - what more could anybody wish for?
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Hungry4info
post Feb 4 2010, 02:49 PM
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Definitely! I'm excited about the news!

Another thing to keep in mind, MahFL, is contamination. Enceladus became a very attractive target for astrobiology since the arrival of Cassini. It would be a shame of biological contaminants were to be accidentally introduced onto Enceladus from Cassini though an impact in the distant future. Depositing the spacecraft into Saturn is like throwing away a used band-aid. Nothing you can do with it anymore, and you don't want to risk bio-contamination. This helped motivate the Galileo plunge into Jupiter, avoid contamination of Europa.

Can we expect any science from Cassini during the Saturn plunge?


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Juramike
post Feb 4 2010, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE (Hungry4info @ Feb 4 2010, 09:49 AM) *
Can we expect any science from Cassini during the Saturn plunge?


Absolutely!!

Cassini might get to actually taste Saturn's atmosphere on it's way in. Check out this repost here.


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Decepticon
post Feb 4 2010, 09:26 PM
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Are there any close or non targeted flybys of Hyperion in the XXM?
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Bjorn Jonsson
post Feb 4 2010, 10:58 PM
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QUOTE (Decepticon @ Feb 4 2010, 09:26 PM) *
Are there any close or non targeted flybys of Hyperion in the XXM?

RTFM ;-)

This link was posted in this thread earlier today:
http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/cassini/xxm/SM-7/SM-7_all.txt
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Tom Tamlyn
post Feb 4 2010, 11:51 PM
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Some questions about Cassini's final maneuvers.

John Spenser's description on Emily's blog states that a final Titan fly-by will perturb Cassini's orbit into a narrow cloud-scraping orbit inside the ring system. After 23 orbits, "a final distant nudge from Titan on September 11, 2017 delivers the death blow, altering the orbit just enough to drop Cassini into Saturn on September 15."

Is that final nudge a pure gravitational perturbation, or is it assisted by Cassini's propulsion system? How far away will Titan be when it delivers the fatal nudge?

TTT
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john_s
post Feb 5 2010, 12:14 AM
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That's a purely gravitational nudge from Titan- no propellant required. That final "close" approach to Titan will be at a range of 86,000 km.

John
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dmuller
post Feb 5 2010, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE (Bjorn Jonsson @ Feb 5 2010, 09:58 AM) *
This link was posted in this thread earlier today:
http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/cassini/xxm/SM-7/SM-7_all.txt

I have used that file in my timeline, hence you can also search my website by target: http://www.dmuller.net/spaceflight/target....target=hyperion



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Tom Tamlyn
post Feb 5 2010, 05:44 AM
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Some more questions about Cassini's final plunge.

Is it expected that the vessel will be completely vaporized as it flames through the upper atmosphere, or are some pieces likely to survive to continue their descent at a stately terminal velocity?

If the latter, will the remnants continue to sink until they are vaporized in Saturn's hot core, or will they survive, highly compressed but still distinct objects, bobbing away in some cooler region of the atmosphere?
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NickF
post Feb 5 2010, 10:02 AM
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I've also wondered about the question Tom raises.

Fascinating to think that the Pu in Cassini's RTGs will be the heaviest constituent atoms of Saturn for the for the foreseeable future smile.gif



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MahFL
post Feb 5 2010, 11:15 AM
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I know it makes scense to plunge into Saturn, my original comments were more a knee jerk reaction on hearing they were going for the plunge. rolleyes.gif
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CAP-Team
post Feb 5 2010, 07:01 PM
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I think it's a sad thing to crash a spacecraft like Cassini into Saturn.
I remember that when Cassini was developed many options were mentioned, like orbiting Titan or swing te spacecraft out of the Saturn system in an orbit around the sun.
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djellison
post Feb 5 2010, 07:07 PM
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By making the most of what Cassini was designed to do ( orbit Saturn and observe it's system ) I assume they've traded any possible outside-of-the-box fates for Cassini for just more Saturn observations, assuming the XXM will use up the vast majority of remaining fuel.
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Phil Stooke
post Feb 5 2010, 07:08 PM
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Yes, sure, CAP-Team, but the science is inferior. Here we will get the mass of the rings, chemistry of the upper atmosphere of Saturn, the manetic field at very low altitudes, plus great ring/inner moon imaging opportunities. Escaping Saturn gives us nothing, and I think it was already found to be too difficult to get into Titan orbit, plus inferior science (a bit on Titan but nothing on the rest of the system.

Phil


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rlorenz
post Feb 5 2010, 07:13 PM
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QUOTE (CAP-Team @ Feb 5 2010, 02:01 PM) *
I think it's a sad thing to crash a spacecraft like Cassini into Saturn.
I remember that when Cassini was developed many options were mentioned, like orbiting Titan or swing te spacecraft out of the Saturn system in an orbit around the sun.


Well, a lot has happened since Cassini was developed.... in fact, one of the driving
considerations behind the end-of-mission scenarios is to avoid even the small
probability of hitting Europa (qv Galileo). Dumping your RTG-powered spacecraft in
a giant planet avoids lawsuits, terrorist threats, and planetary protection issues.
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