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RIP Cassini

Space, the environment, new discoveries and new uses for old ones
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John Q. Public
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RIP Cassini

Postby John Q. Public » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:04 pm

A couple years of my brother's work goes poof on Friday. :cry:

Meanwhile, here's a link to a look inside Mission Control. Sorry I can't embed it, but here's a screen cap. Yep. Still the same JPL.

Cassini 4 Dummies.jpg


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Professor Fate
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby Professor Fate » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:16 pm

Dr Earl Maize, Nasa's Cassini programme manager, told the BBC: "If Cassini runs out of fuel it would be uncontrolled and the possibility that it could crash-land on the moons of Titan and/or Enceladus are unacceptably high.

For the sake of argument, would that be such a bad thing? If we could try a somewhat controlled crash landing on one of those moons, maybe there would be some wreckage to find and study in 2317.
Things under Obama got a lot worse before they started to get better – and they only started to get better after the GOP took over half of Congress and put the brakes on spending.

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John Q. Public
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby John Q. Public » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:37 pm

Not really, considering that what it might crash into could be far more interesting than a bunch of metal we've already seen. And there could be more to be learned by sending it into Saturn. They're concerned about those two moons, in particular, because they think they could be capable of supporting life of some kind.
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Omar Bongo
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby Omar Bongo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:40 pm

For the sake of argument, would that be such a bad thing?

Why, just because we can? What would be the point?
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Professor Fate
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby Professor Fate » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:18 pm

John Q. Public wrote:And there could be more to be learned by sending it into Saturn.

Yeah, I figured that would be the case, but I just thought it would be cool for future explorers/colonists to find and study a piece of history.
Things under Obama got a lot worse before they started to get better – and they only started to get better after the GOP took over half of Congress and put the brakes on spending.

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John Q. Public
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:11 pm

Oh right. Another good reason for not crashing it into one of the moons - it was nuclear powered. Much better to vaporize it.
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Professor Fate
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby Professor Fate » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:22 pm

Good idea. Thanks Cassini. RIP
Things under Obama got a lot worse before they started to get better – and they only started to get better after the GOP took over half of Congress and put the brakes on spending.

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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby MDDad » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:37 pm

John Q. Public wrote:Oh right. Another good reason for not crashing it into one of the moons - it was nuclear powered. Much better to vaporize it.

Unless we're concerned about the Klingons possibly scavenging the debris and benefiting from out technology, what difference does it make if Cassini crashes or is vaporized?

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John Q. Public
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby John Q. Public » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:02 pm

One of the moons has water and one has methane. Both point to the possibility of life of some sort. Contaminating either with alien plutonium wouldn't be especially wise.
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Professor Fate
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Re: RIP Cassini

Postby Professor Fate » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:15 pm

Pu-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years and Pu-241's half-life is 14.4 years. Substances with shorter half-lives decay more quickly than those with longer half-lives, so they emit more energetic radioactivity. Like any radioactive isotopes, plutonium isotopes transform when they decay.
Things under Obama got a lot worse before they started to get better – and they only started to get better after the GOP took over half of Congress and put the brakes on spending.

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