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39

Sorry for the length of this, but it brings up some interesting facts and possibilities. The moons you mention, Titan, Europa, and Enceladus, are three very different places. Titan has a relatively large surface gravitational acceleration (as far as satellites go) and a very thick atmosphere; Europa has a relatively large surface gravitational acceleration ...


18

It's probably going to be less of a concern than you'd guess. The icy worlds of our solar system have essentially no atmosphere, so the surface materials will sublimate directly to vapor and be dispersed rather than melting and freezing the landing pads into place. Fairly little of the surface will be disturbed to begin with. The gas expansion which ...


16

Cassini's INMS, the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer, is an in situ instrument that measures the neutral and plasma gas composition of what it ingests. It was intended for the measurement of Titan's atmosphere, Saturn's magnetosphere plasma, ring composition, and in fact the composition of icy satellite effluents. Here is a good presentation on the basics of ...


5

Concise version from the pre-flyby media teleconference announcement: Cassini scientists are hopeful the flyby will provide insights into how much hydrothermal activity is occurring within Enceladus, and how this hot-water chemistry might impact the ocean’s potential habitability for simple forms of life. If the spacecraft’s ion and neutral mass ...


5

Sure. Whatever the pressure-based limit is, they can dive proportionally deeper by the amount that the gravitational acceleration is less. For Enceladus, that would be 87 times deeper. The pressure is simply the weight of the water above you, and the weight is proportional to gravity. The pressure-based limit on Earth depends on what effect you are worrying ...


3

The very structured nature of the features strongly suggests stray light. In fact, in-flight calibration has an example of this (ref. Figure 18). From the text: Also, when a bright object is located near to the corners of the NAC frame, a bright streak can be seen to extend diagonally across the field of view


3

The larger ice grains in the plumes came directly from the water of the sub-ice ocean. Those grains were not condensed to solid particles from the cooling of water vapor flowing up the fissures in the ice, called "Tiger Stripes" by the Cassini team. Such condensation would make the particles essentially pure water ice, since the salt doesn't evaporate in any ...


2

What could be the complete internal architecture of my payload's OBDH system? I would use a Raspberry Pi model 3b+, connected to a camera module. You may run the latest version of Raspbian (a Linux flavor based on Debian) and configure the startup scripts to start streaming footage. Which processor should I use for fast processing, less power budget? ...


2

An update on the measurement's "accomplishments". The data gleaned from the analysis of the plume chemistry suggests not only a renewable source of energy for potential microorganisms in Enceladus' ocean, but helps identify characteristics of Earth organisms that might also live there if (accidentally) transported there. While the Methanogenic Archaea used ...


2

I don't have the source for this latest flyby, but I do have one for the 50 km pass that was previously executed in 2008, only slightly further than the 49 km pass this go-around. The two stated dangers were "The two threats to the spacecraft were identified to be an inadvertent impact with Enceladus, and damage resulting from the environment within the ...


2

I'm assuming you mean the underground ocean, as only Titan and Earth have actual lakes. It's really hard to know the age of a geological feature, especially with limited opportunity to study it directly. Taking a photograph of the Moon doesn't really tell you how old it is, but getting samples of the Moon gives a pretty good idea. The best estimate to the ...


1

It might be that the 100-million-years estimate is much closer than the billions-of-years estimate. Luciano Iess and his team are in the process of publishing a paper about the mass of Saturn's rings, based on Cassini radio science measurements. Those results were supposed to be sequestered until the paper comes out. But in a presentation at a planetary ...


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