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Cassini in safe mode after Saturn flight

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posted on Sep, 13 2007 @ 06:53 PM

The international Cassini spacecraft went into safe mode this week after successfully passing over a Saturn moon that was the mysterious destination of a deep-space faring astronaut in Arthur C. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Cassini flew within 1,000 miles of Iapetus on Monday and snapped images of its rugged, two-toned surface. As it was sending data back to Earth, it was hit by a cosmic ray that caused a power trip. The spacecraft was not damaged, but had to turn off its instruments and relay only limited information.

Mission controllers recently sent commands for Cassini to resume normal transmission and the spacecraft could be fully functional by week's end.


Hit by a cosmic ray? What the heck does that mean? This being the same moon Clarke based "2001" on is kind of freaky, too. How many sci-fi stories and the claims they made in the past are now reality?

posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 12:34 AM
Here's another blurb from

A blast of galactic cosmic rays delayed delivery of Cassini's latest work by several days,
but the spacecraft automatically entered into a protective "safe mode" after the event,
according to a statement released by NASA. Had the energetic blast arrived a few days sooner,
however, the close-up imaging opportunity may have been lost due to the temporary shut-down.
NASA said that Cassini is operating normally, and its scientific instruments
"are expected to return to normal operations in a few days."

I'm guessing these 'galactic cosmic rays' are a coronal ejection,
and that these temporary shutdowns are not uncommon.

Found another interesting Cassini-Huygens update, also from

The Cassini spacecraft will perform its closest flyby ever of Saturn's ice-spewing moon Enceladus
early next year, moving directly into its icy polar geyser for a deep-space shower.

Cassini's third flyby of Enceladus (en-SELL-ah-dus), set for March 2008, will swing it within 19 miles
(30 kilometers) of the saturnian moon-almost six times closer than the spacecraft's closest pass to it in 2005.
The tight trajectory will move Cassini directly into the icy geyser at the
moon's southern pole, said NASA official James Green during a teleconference today.

19 miles! That should make for some awesome pics.

NASA folks at JPL, are still crunching the numbers,
to determine the safety parameters, for this impromptu mission .

Seems the spacecraft is somewhat capable of 'sniffing' out
the composition of these 'space plumes, which are theorized to be mostly
water ice'.

NASA hopes to have a deciding analysis, by the end of this year.

[edit on 14-9-2007 by Jbird]

posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 12:41 AM
Unbelievable! 19 miles? I can't believe how ridiculously accurate these guys can be, but then do something like completely lose track of a probe (Mars) because of conflicting units of measure (supposedly). Go figure. Well THAT'S going to be interesting.

posted on Sep, 16 2007 @ 01:31 PM
Just wanted to correct this flawed bit of speculation in my previous post.

I'm guessing these 'galactic cosmic rays' are a coronal ejection,
and that these temporary shutdowns are not uncommon.

After re-reading the thread, it became obvious , from the 'term' itself,

galactic cosmic rays, (also known as 'high energy rays' or 'primary energy rays' )

are from an extra-solar source.

High Energy Cosmic Rays and the Sun

There are two categories of cosmic rays: primary and secondary cosmic rays. Real (or "primary") cosmic rays can generally be defined as all particles that come to earth from outer space. These primary cosmic rays generally do not make it through the earth's atmosphere, and constitute only a small fraction of what we can measure using a suitable set of particle detectors at the earth's surface.
cosmic rays

Coronal ejections are 'low energy rays'

Sorry for any confusion.

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