Tom's Astronomy Blog 15 Sep 2017, 04:36 UTC The end of mission activities for Cassini will be here with live commentary from JPL at 11:00 UT/7:00 ET. Expected LOS is 12:00 UTC / 08:00 EDT About the image (NASA) – ASA’s Cassini spacecraft gazed toward the northern hemisphere of Saturn to spy subtle, multi-hued bands in the clouds there. This view looks toward the terminator — the dividing line between night and day — at lower left. The sun shines at low angles along this boundary, in places highlighting vertical structure in the clouds. Some vertical relief is apparent in this view, with higher clouds casting shadows over those at lower altitude. Images taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural-color view. The images were acquired on Aug. 31, 2017, at a distance of approximately 700,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is about 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two ...
astrobites 14 Sep 2017, 21:21 UTC WFIRST is one of NASA’s key missions for the next decade. The mission is a 2.4m space telescope that will operate in the infrared, and include coronagraphic, spectroscopic, and wide field imaging functionalities, and will be launching in 2025 or 2026, for a 6-year nominal mission. That means the telescope should be functional for at least 6 years, and may well be extended if there is sufficient demand from the community. The key goals of the mission are to (a) answer fundamental questions about dark energy, (b) carry out a microlensing survey to assess exoplanet frequency across a wide stretch of parameter space and (c) directly image Earth-sized exoplanets around nearby stars. However, in today’s post we’re going to take a slightly different angle: we’ll be looking at a white paper that’s recently been published, discussing the potential of the instrument for Solar System science.
The Star Splitter 14 Sep 2017, 20:14 UTC We’ve all marveled over Cassini’s images of the Saturn system for more than a decade. Saturn is a truly dynamic place, surrounded by equally dynamic worlds. But Cassini’s images did more than just capture images of these distant places; it created art. Breathtaking ‘landscapes’, magnificent portraits, and photographs perfectly timed and framed. Cassini has all of the skill and talent of a master photographer, with special thanks to its imaging team back on Earth. Below are just a few of my favorite Cassini photos.
Scientific American 14 Sep 2017, 17:15 UTC A new study using data from NASA’s Dawn mission suggests ice may exist beneath smooth patches of the asteroid’s surface
Universe Today 14 Sep 2017, 14:47 UTC “With Cassini, we had a rare opportunity and we seized it,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini Mission Scientist. And on Friday, September 15, we say goodbye to this incredible spacecraft. Since 2004, Cassini has been orbiting Saturn, exploring the magnificent gas giant planet while weaving through an incredibly diverse assortment of 60-plus icy moons, and skimming along the edges of the complex but iconic icy rings.
SPACE.com 14 Sep 2017, 13:50 UTC SpaceX CEO Elon Musk likes reusability. With 16 successful rocket landings under its belt, along with two reused rockets and one reused Dragon spacecraft, Musk's rocket company has made giant leaps in reusable booster technology for sure.