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NASA Cassini Significant Events 10/06/10 - 10/12/10

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010

image The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Oct. 12 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/.

Wednesday, Oct. 6 (DOY 279)

The S64 background sequence, the first of the Solstice Mission, was uplinked over DSS-43 today. The files have been verified as properly received by the spacecraft and will start execution on Monday, Oct. 11.

A feature story called "Saturn's Tiny Moon May Keep its Oceans Liquid by Wobbling" is available on the Cassini web site. It describes research by scientists who have studied Saturn's icy moon Enceladus to explain its mysterious warmth. Cassini helped decode the puzzling heat patterns of this Saturnian moon. For more information on this subject, link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassinifeatures/feature20101006/.

An article called "Lightning Mixes a Dark and Stormy Brew at Saturn" was posted on the Cassini web site today. It describes how Cassini data indicate that methane zapped by lightning produces soot and an array of other carbon products in Saturn's atmosphere. This process creates the dark clouds that have been detected in visible and infrared wavelengths. Lightning's effects on methane, it turns out, may be at the heart of some of the most interesting chemical changes that occur in Saturn's atmosphere. For more information on this subject, link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassiniscienceleague/science20101006/.

Thursday, Oct. 7 (DOY 280)

A news release called "Cassini Catches Saturn Moons in Paintball Fight" is available on the Cassini web site. Scientists using data from the Cassini spacecraft have learned that distinctive, colorful bands and splotches embellish the surfaces of Saturn's inner, mid-size moons. The reddish and bluish hues on the icy surfaces of Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea appear to be the aftermath of bombardments large and small. A paper based on the findings was recently published and in it, scientists describe prominent global patterns that trace the trade routes for material exchange between the moons themselves, an outer ring of Saturn known as the E ring, and the planet's magnetic environment. For more information on this subject and images, link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/newsreleases/newsrelease20101007/.

Friday, Oct. 8 (DOY 281)

The Integrated Test Lab (ITL) transition to Solaris 10 was completed this week. Backup machines still remain on the Solaris 9 operating system for another two weeks. This week's science observations included a 13 hour interstellar dust observation by the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA). The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) completed a 25 hour observation to measure oxygen compounds in Saturn's stratosphere. Imaging Science (ISS) performed another observation in its Satellite Orbit Campaign and a four hour observation of the moon Kiviuq. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) performed a calibration by observing the star Spica, and completed its 32 hour mosaic scan of Saturn's magnetosphere. ISS and CIRS performed another observation in the Titan monitoring campaign.

Monday, Oct. 11 (DOY 284)

The S63 sequence concluded and S64 began execution today at 2010-284T04:17:00. The sequence will run for 45 days and conclude on Nov. 24. During that time there will be one targeted encounter of Titan and eleven non-targeted flybys two each of Dione and one each of Titan, Polydeuces, Mimas, Pallene, Telesto, Methone, Aegaeon, Rhea, and Enceladus.

Four OTMs are scheduled, numbered 264 through 267. The S63 sequence began in the Equinox Mission but extended for two and a half weeks into the Solstice Mission period, so S64 is the first complete sequence in the Solstice Mission.

Real time command procedure SCO-1794 to normalize the Command and Data Subsystem (CDS) flight software load on the Solid State Recorder (SSR) began execution today. Normalization makes all four copies of the CDS flight software on the SSRs equivalent.

The Science Forum for S67 was held today. Topics included an overview of science planned for this sequence followed by highlights, unique activities, and highest priority observations as described by the Titan Working Team (TWT) and Orbiter Science Team (OST) leads, with comments from the Investigation Scientists and other instrument team representatives.

Tuesday, Oct. 12 (DOY 285)

Commands were radiated over Canberra's DSS-45 today in support of the S64 Live Inertial Vector Propagator (IVP) update. The Pallene, Dione, Mimas, and Rhea Live IVP update is on board and will execute on Oct. 16.

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