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Author Topic: Saturn !!!
Charles
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Not the car, but the planet!

The Cassini spacecraft is approaching and getting ready to orbit.

Check out this image.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/multimedia/pia06077.html

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Charles
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Footage of Saturn's moon, Titan as it rotates on its axis.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/61520main_PIA06080_full.gif

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Charles
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From JPL and Nasa

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A Guide to Saturn Orbit Insertion: June 30 (All times are approximate and listed in Pacific Time)
NASA TV/webcast coverage begins at 6:30 pm.

6:11 pm Spacecraft turns so its high-gain antenna can shield the craft from particles as it crosses Saturn's ring plane.

7:36 pm Engine begins burn, which will slow spacecraft down so it can be captured by Saturn's gravity. Burn lasts approximately 96 minutes.

9:03 pm Closest approach to Saturn of entire mission: 19,980 kilometers (12,400 miles) from Saturn's cloud tops.

9:12-9:22 pm Engine burn ends.

9:35 pm Spacecraft begins to take pictures of Saturn's rings.

9:54-10:44 pm Spacecraft passes behind rings and planet.

10:58 pm Ring plane crossing.

12:00 am July 1 Spacecraft turns toward Earth; starts playback of data.

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This is happening as I write this.

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Charles
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Later in the morning...

.................

- July 1

-- 5 am approximately
First images received

-- 10 am Mission briefing

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SquarejawHero
IE # 188
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Wow, Saturn almost looks like a computer render. I can here the conspiracy theorists now! [Big Grin]

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Bowendesign.com

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SoleilSmile
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SO Friggin' COOL! Sf Gate featured the sunlit photos of Saturn's rings. This is kismet because I've been watching the Sailor Moon Sailor Saturn series over the past two days while maya-ing. Whatta kick!

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HipChick Comics and Animatress Blog

www.hipchickcomics.com
http://www.animatress.blogspot.com/

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Charles
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The Cassini spacecraft probe successfully flew through the rings of Saturn and will orbit the planet for the next 4 years, getting in seventy something loops before it's over and sending a surface probe to Titan.

The rings are made of icey rock particles from dust size to chunks as big as a house or even a small mountain.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

http://www.planetary.org/saturn/rings.html

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Homunculus Boze
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The Cassini-Saturn orbital insertion was truly a "white knuckler." After 7 years and over 3 billion kilometers, this was *the* make or break stage of the entire mission.

But the 96-minute braking burn that allowed Saturn to "capture" Cassini went off flawlessly, and the possibility the spacecraft might have been damaged by debris, as it ascended and then dipped through one of the ring "divisions" had luckily not occurred.


The next big event will be when the Huygens probe is released and then descends through Titan's clouds to land on its mysterious surface.

It seems like so long ago when there was a big debate about Cassini's nuclear fuel (Cassini's mission is too far from the Sun for it to use solar panels), when at the time, the spacecraft swooped close to Earth to use its gravity to boost it toward Saturn.

Well, I'm off to check out the latest images of Titan's *surface*...

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

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Charles
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Picking up where this left off, and speaking of Titan's surface...

On October 26, Cassini sent back radar images of the surface of Titan, never before seen because of the dense cloud cover. Here's the link to the article on JPL's and NASA's site.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2004-265

And here's a picture of the surface.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/titan/102804/pia06984-browse.jpg

Amazing.

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Dolemite50
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Incredible!
Thanks for keeping us posted.

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