Status Report

NASA Cassini Significant Events for 02/25/09 – 03/03/09

By SpaceRef Editor
March 8, 2009
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NASA Cassini Significant Events for 02/25/09 – 03/03/09

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Mar. 3 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Madrid, Spain. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” page at:

Wednesday, Feb. 25 (DOY 056)

After ending a three-month run at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, the exhibit “Spectacular Saturn – Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission” opened on Feb. 2 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Wash. DC, and will be on display there through July 2009. This traveling display has been made possible with the assistance of the American Museum of Natural History and Cornell’s Herbert Johnson Museum of Art.

A new map of the dunes on Titan is now available. Based on high-resolution RADAR data collected over a four-year period, some 16,000 dune segments were mapped out from about 20 RADAR images, digitized, and combined to produce the new map. From this data scientists have determined that Titan’s rippled dunes are generally oriented east to west, indicating that surface winds blow toward the east. This is the opposite direction suggested by previous global circulation models of Titan. This information is important in that knowledge of wind patterns is necessary for planning future Titan explorations that might involve balloon-borne experiments. For all the details link to:


Thursday, Feb. 26 (DOY 057):

The majority of science this week focused on rings, rings, and more rings. Descending through the ring plane just prior to periapsis, Imaging Science (ISS) acquired data for an 8-hour ring movie, and the Cosmic Dust Analyzer took samples as the spacecraft passed through this region. Throughout the week, a number of occultations were captured as very bright ultraviolet and infrared stars passed behind the rings. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) and Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph used these opportunities to study ring density and structure. Towards the end of the week the Composite Infrared Spectrometer obtained data for an 8-hour vertical temperature map of the Cassini Division. Additional activities included Optical Remote Sensing instrument observations of Dione and Rhea, and continued Magnetospheric and Plasma Science surveys.

Friday, Feb. 27 (DOY 058):

Work continued on preparations for the propulsion system to swap to its RCS B-branch thrusters, scheduled to begin Mar. 12. The Integrated Test Laboratory (ITL) “dry run” to test the swap procedure and various contingency files concluded successfully today. The ITL end-to-end test will begin Monday, Mar. 2, and will run the entire week. After the conclusion of the test on Friday, the project will hold an Uplink Readiness Review. Actual uplink of files will then begin on Saturday, Mar. 7.

Monday, March 2 (DOY 061):

If you go to

features/imageoftheyear08/, you will find yourself at the Cassini Image of the Year website. This year, 15 images were presented for our readers to vote on. The winner: A Tectonic Feast. On Oct. 5, 2008, just after closest approach at 25 kilometers, Cassini captured this mosaic of the geologically active surface of Enceladus.

Tuesday, March 3 (DOY 062):

Cassini scientists analyzing images acquired over the course of about 600 days found a tiny moonlet, half a kilometer across, embedded within a partial ring, or ring arc, in Saturn’s tenuous G ring. “S/2008 S 1” has been identified as the 61st known satellite orbiting Saturn and is likely a significant source of the small particles found in the G ring. For the full story link to:

Visit the JPL Cassini home page for more information about the Cassini Project:

SpaceRef staff editor.