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Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Outer Solar System > Saturn > Cassini Huygens > Cassini general discussion and science results
BruceMoomaw
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/sessions5?meeting=sm06&sec=P

Actually, the haul this time struck me as rather disappointing. But there were some interesting revisionist papers on the heterogeneity of Mars' surface basalt composition:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P31A-06"
...the earliest geological evolution of the lunar surface:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P41B-02"
...and the real nature of the Europan chaos features:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P33A-03"
...plus Robert Carlson's latest notes on his studies into the effect of Jovian radiation on various Europan surface chemicals, including organics:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P23A-01"
...in which he says that "Work is continuing to establish useful biosignatures that may persist in the complex mass spectra [even] of irradiated microorganisms."

But most of the interesting stuff seems to revolve around Saturn's moons. First, that paper by Dennis Matson et al on how they fit Iapetus' Belly Band into their theory of that moon's early evolution is at http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P33A-04" .

Second, Ralph Lorenz -- in an otherwise nonfresh bit on future Titan exploration techniques -- confirms that "The Huygens probe data indicate the presence of heavy organics (including benzene) in the surface material at the landing site":
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P24A-01" .

Finally, there are three interesting Enceladus items. First, Matson, Castillo et al reiterate their belief that Enceladus may keep its south pole hot due to continued tidal dissipation in a big chamber of magma inside the moon's rocky core, which was initially heated by Al-26 at the moon's start -- and they repeat an LPSC abstract in which they state that tidal-dissipation friction may also be allowing the Loki lava lake on Io to keep ITSELF perpetually warm, with no need for any other heat source for it:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P33A-07" . (Their LPSC abstract on Loki is at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2006/pdf/1767.pdf ).

Second, Gerald Schubert proposes a model of Enceladus' interior that calls for substantial early melting of Enceladus' ice, current complete differentiation of the moon into a rocky core and an ice shell 65 to 105 km thick, and a strong possibility of current subsurface liquid water:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P33A-06"

And finally, R.A. Baragiola repeats again that he thinks ammonia MAY be mixed with the water coming out of Enceladus'plumes, but that Saturn's radiation may destroy it almost instantly:
http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&...t;P24A-02" .

(I repeat, though, that this idea got pooh-poohed at the Europa Focus Group meeting on the grounds that a majority of the plume would have to be NH3, and that almost all of it would have to be totally destroyed during the brief 15 minutes or so before the vapor got from Enceladus' surface to the INMS on Cassini.)

Note: If I've offended Alex by trying to provide the rest of you with a summary of the AGU papers that I think you might find especially interesting, I'm EVER so sorry.
ljk4-1
Rob Gutro/Steve Cole May 18, 2006

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Meeting Press Room Phone: (410) 649-7373 or at Goddard: (301) 286-4044

RELEASE 06-38

NASA PRESENTATIONS AT AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION JOINT ASSEMBLY

NASA researchers will meet with the media and present findings on a variety of Earth and space science topics at the American Geophysical Union's 2006 Joint Assembly meeting, May 23-26 at the Baltimore Convention Center, One West Pratt Street, Baltimore, Md. Media should call the Goddard Space Flight Center's Office of Public Affairs at (301) 286-4044 for more information, or the Joint Assembly's press room at (410) 649-7373 for more information onsite.


PRESS CONFERENCE: MEASURING EARTHSHINE TO ILLUMINATE EARTH'S HISTORY, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THE SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE

TIME: May 23, 10:00 a.m. EDT, Room 323

SESSION: A21A

Philip Goode will describe the worldwide network of inexpensive ground-based robotic telescopes he is developing to measure Earthshine and better understand climate variables. Scientists also use Earthshine models to search for complex life on distant planets.

Participants

Philip R. Goode, Distinguished Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, N.J., and Director, Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), Big Bear City, Calif.

Pilar Montanes-Rodriguez, Research Professor, NJIT and BBSO

Wesley A. Traub, Chief Scientist, NASA's Navigator Program, and Project Scientist, NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph mission, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


PRESS CONFERENCE: NEW DISCOVERIES AT THE EDGES OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

TIME: May 23, 2:00 p.m. EDT, Room 323

SESSION: SH21A

Voyagers 1 and 2, launched in 1977, are the first manmade objects to approach the edge of the solar system. Heading in different directions, they report a large north-south asymmetry in the shape of the heliosphere, the "bubble" within which the sun dominates, that could be caused by an interstellar magnetic field pressing inward on the southern hemisphere. Voyager 2 could cross the termination shock at any time during the next year or two. Voyager 1 has found a new source of low-energy particles coming from the shock but, contrary to predictions, did not find the source of higher energy anomalous cosmic rays.

Participants

Leonard Burlanga, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Ed Stone, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

Rob Decker, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.


PRESS CONFERENCE: NEW OBSERVATIONS FROM SPACE POISED TO OFFER COST-EFFECTIVE EARLY WARNING FLOOD AND LANDSLIDE DETECTION

TIME: May 24, 1:00 p.m. EDT, Room 323

SESSION: H23A

Landslides and floods claim hundreds of lives a year, especially in parts of the world without extensive flood and rainfall monitoring ground networks. Using a variety of advanced new observations from space, scientists are beginning to build early warning systems with potential global reach to detect floods and landslides.

Participants

Robert Brakenridge, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

K. O. Asante, U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Yangtse Hong, Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland Baltimore County and NASA GSFC

Robert Adler, NASA GSFC


PRESS CONFERENCE: REVOLUTIONIZING SPACE EXPLORATION WITH ONBOARD COMPUTERS
TIME: May 25, 9:00 a.m. EDT, Room 323

SESSION: IN43A

Software that enables spacecraft to make decisions on how and what to observe can dramatically improve science. This is happening on several missions to Earth and Mars and other plans are being developed. The participants will talk about current and future missions that will use the technology.

Participants

Steve Chien, Principal Investigator for the Autonomous Sciencecraft, NASA JPL
Rebecca Castano, Principal Investigator for the OASIS, Onboard Autonomous Science Investigation System, NASA JPL
Ralph Lorenz, Professor, University of Arizona



SCIENCE WRITER'S WORKSHOP: UPCOMING AIM AND THEMIS MISSIONS TO STUDY EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE

TIME: May 25, 10:00 a.m. EDT, Room 323

SESSION: ED33A, SM41A, IN43A, SA52A

This workshop explains why two upcoming NASA missions are important to understanding how solar activity affects the Earth. The Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission plans to unravel the mystery behind auroral substorms, magnetic energy powered by the solar wind that intensifies the northern and southern lights. THEMIS will help us understand how these space storms create havoc on satellites, power grids, and communication systems. The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission seeks to explain why mysterious brilliant silvery blue clouds keep appearing at the edge of space in the mesosphere. To what extent does the sun control the dramatic variability seen in these clouds? Are these clouds a temperature gauge for climate change?

Participants:

Joseph. A. Dezio, Deputy Program Manager, NASA Explorer Program, GSFC
Vassilis Angelopoulos, THEMIS Principal Investigator, University of California, Berkeley

Jim Russell, AIM Principal Investigator, Hampton University, Hampton Va.


For detailed information about each of these sessions, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingat...t_assembly.html


For more information about the American Geophysical Union 2006 Joint Assembly Meeting, visit:

http://www.agu.org/meetings/ja06/
The Messenger
Emily said in her blog Ralph Lorenz hinted we may be seeing some altitude data soon:

"Ralph laughed and said "There's a story developing but that's all I can tell you. The guys are basically doing things that we've got no right to get away with doing with SAR data but the results may be worth sticking our necks out for."
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