Golden Lil’ Cassini — Now Beaming Silvery Torrents Of Data Back To JPL and NASA, From First Ring Plunge

Images very shortly — and maybe a poem or two. [Gold loops at right represent current orbital series.]

But more immediately, here’s the very good NASA news:

. . . .As it dove through the gap, Cassini came within about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) of Saturn’s cloud tops (where the air pressure is 1 bar — comparable to the atmospheric pressure of Earth at sea level) and within about 200 miles (300 kilometers) of the innermost visible edge of the rings. . . .

“No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn’s other rings, of what we thought this gap between the rings and Saturn would be like,” said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape.”

The gap between the rings and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere is about 1,500 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide. The best models for the region suggested that if there were ring particles in the area where Cassini crossed the ring plane, they would be tiny, on the scale of smoke particles. The spacecraft zipped through this region at speeds of about 77,000 mph (124,000 kph) relative to the planet, so small particles hitting a sensitive area could potentially have disabled the spacecraft. . . .

Grinning ear to ear — at a [redacted] sac plat — clearly elegant (but of course!). Lovely. . . Hah!

[Forecasting Dept.: a likely blog outage, starting Friday early morning, through Monday late night — off grid.] Keep it spinning in good karma, whilst I’m away, one and all. . . .

नमस्ते

Advertisements

There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: