The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on April 4 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Canberra, Australia. 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/mission/presentposition/.
Thursday, March 31 (DOY 090)
A news release called “Forensic Sleuthing Ties Ring Ripples to Impacts” is available on the Cassini web site. It describes how scientists working with data from Cassini, Galileo and New Horizons traced tell-tale ripples in the rings of Saturn and Jupiter back to collisions with cometary fragments between 10 and 30 years ago. In the case of Jupiter, the ripple-producing culprit was Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994. In the case of Saturn, it was a cloud of comet debris that plunged through the inner rings in the second half of 1983. For more information on this subject link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/newsreleases/newsrelease20110331/
Friday, April 1 (DOY 091)
In science this week, the Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS) instruments continued observations from last week with the focus on making measurements of the distant reaches of Saturn's magnetosphere as the spacecraft approached and passed through apoapsis. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) performed a series of three repeated slews across the auroral oval of Saturn for 17 hours each. This is a special set of observations, coordinated with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of Saturn's aurorae taken from Earth. Analysis of these joint observations will help in understanding Saturn's aurorae and magnetic field by comparing the Cassini in-situ data with the distant HST observations. The week also included a 15-hour ISS observation of the distant Saturnian moon Skathi to measure rotational variations.
Saturday, April 2 (DOY 092)
The annual calibration of the backup inertial reference unit took place today. A preliminary look at the results indicates that the unit is performing normally.
Sunday, April 3 (DOY 093)
An additional 54 teachers with students from schools in high-poverty communities in 40 states across the country have received Cassini outreach materials as part of NASA’s collaboration with DonorsChoose.org teachers, bringing the total number of teachers reached to 150. These teachers teach 10,300 students. The Cassini outreach team plans to build and maintain relationships with these teachers to raise awareness of future opportunities for their students, such as the Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest. These classrooms can also help pilot new NASA educational products.
Monday, April 4 (DOY 094)
Saturn rules the night skies for the next few months. Have you seen it? If not, learn where to look and what you'll see in this month's What's Up video podcast. For more information on this subject link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassinifeatures/feature20110404/
Tuesday, April 5 (DOY 095)
The Instrument Operations team delivered the Imaging Science Subsystem Pre-Commanding Tool (ISSPT) v2.8 and the Support Imaging Automation (SIA) V3.1 software today. This delivery incorporates updates to the image exposure planning software and automation for color triplets, and is expected to be operational in time to support S69.