Cassini Significant Events 02/06/08 - 02/12/08

February 14, 2008

(Source: Cassini Project)


The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from the Goldstone tracking complex. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and all subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the "Present Position" page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/operations/present-position.cfm.

Wednesday, Feb. 6 (DOY 037):

The JPL Media Relations Office in conjunction with GSFC produced a web feature on Saturn's A ring acting as a sponge, trapping particles from the plumes of Enceladus. Prior to Cassini, it was believed that Enceladus and the A-ring of Saturn were separate and distinct entities, but Cassini's unique observations indicate that Enceladus is actually delivering a portion of its mass directly to the outer edge of the A-ring. For more details on this story link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features/feature20080205.cfm

The following link will take you to a great false color image and brief write up of the plumes of Enceladus.  http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/imagedetails/index.cfm?imageId=2779

Thursday, Feb. 7 (DOY 038):

AACS A8.7.6 flight software normalization was successfully concluded today. This completes the update to A8.7.6, which was uplinked to the spacecraft back in January.

The JPL Media Relations Office issued a web feature based on a paper in Nature about the "plumbing" within Saturn's moon Enceladus. Enceladus is jetting out giant geysers three times its size, and now scientists are beginning to understand how the ice grains are created and how they might be formed. Knowing the process of how the plumes form and the path the water-ice particles have to travel is providing an insight into what may be a reservoir of liquid water lying just beneath the surface. For the full article link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features/feature20080207.cfm

Friday, Feb. 8 (DOY 039):

The Titan Orbiter Science Team held the final preview meeting for the remaining Titan flybys in the prime mission. All participating instrument teams presented plans for data acquisition and science observations for the T41 through T44 flybys.

The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) completed the second of two demonstrations intended to exercise new V12 instrument flight software. All goals of the demonstration were met, and the software performed as expected. V12 was specifically developed to enhance the CDA observations during the Enceladus flyby coming up in March.

Non-targeted flybys of Epimetheus, Pandora, and Atlas occurred today.

This was another busy day for science. The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) began with sub-millimeter ring measurements. Radio Science (RSS) then performed both ring and Saturn Earth-occultations as the spacecraft sped toward a periapsis distance of 3.3 Saturn radii. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) turned the spacecraft's attention to Dione, with the other optical remote sensing (ORS) teams riding along. Following periapsis passage, the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) wielded rare - for them - spacecraft pointing control to measure inner magnetospheric composition. Finally, the RADAR instrument began an effort to obtain a polar map of the southern hemisphere, while taking rings observations at high inclination.

Over the weekend, RADAR will wrap up its polar mapping and VIMS will begin cylindrical mapping of Saturn. UVIS will observe another occultation of a star by the rings. CIRS will take temperature measurements of the rings and lead a joint ORS observation of Dione. Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS) teams will continue imaging the dynamics of the inner magnetosphere.

Monday, Feb. 11 (DOY 042):


A close-up image of Saturn's moon Epimetheus is Astronomy Picture of the Day today.
Check it out at: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080211.html

An article produced by the JPL Media Relations Office featuring the new Cassini mural in Bldg. 230 can be found at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features/feature20080208.cfm

Science today involves VIMS taking the lead with the other ORS teams riding along in an effort to gain more Saturn polar coverage. Imaging Science (ISS) will take a look at spoke formation in the rings, while MAPS teams continue their measurements of the dynamics of the inner magnetosphere.

The majority of the instrument expanded block files for S38 were uplinked to the spacecraft today. The remainder will go up over the next two days with uplink of the background sequence to occur Wednesday.

The Science Operations Plan (SOP) Implementation kickoff meeting for S42, the first sequence of the proposed extended mission, occurred today. Because there is no aftermarket process or SOP update process in extended mission, the SOP Implementation process has three delivery ports instead of two. The first will occur on Feb. 22.

Tuesday, Feb. 12 (DOY 043):

Today was a heavy day for sequence development meetings. The day began with the final approval meeting and command approval meeting for the S38 background sequence. Then a kickoff meeting was held for the Saturn/Janus DOY 051-052 Live Inertial Vector Propagator (IVP) update. Just after that meeting, the ISS and CIRS teams confirmed that the update would not be required for them. That made it unanimous among CIRS, ISS, Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), VIMS, and Science Planning so the update has been cancelled. The next candidate live update is scheduled to execute the last few days of February and on into March. The process for this event will likely begin next week.

Finally, the S40 Science Operations Plan Update wrap-up and Science and Sequence Update Process kick off meeting was held. The first version of the sequence of events and space flight operations schedule files have been created and the stripped subsequences sent to the participating teams for review.