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24 votes

Could a human jump off Mimas without return?

tl;dr: No chance, not even close! The escape velocity from the surface of a round (spherically symmetric) body is given by $$v_{esc} = \sqrt{\left(\frac{2 GM}{r_0} \right)}, $$ showing that it is ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
14 votes

Will Cassini contaminate Saturn?

If we were going to send a probe into Saturn's atmosphere and were concerned about contamination of a potential ecosphere there, we would sterilize the probe first, e.g. with dry heat microbial ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

Can Dragonfly make it to one of Titan's Lakes?

Can Dragonfly make it to one of Titan's Lakes? tl;dr: Yes! It could be doable in 2-3 years. According to your linked document Dragonfly will use a Multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
12 votes
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Why did Pioneer 11 use a gravitational assist to swing above the ecliptic plane... twice?

According to NASA's history on the mission, Pioneer 11's goals included both investigation of the solar wind outside of the ecliptic, and a look at the polar regions of Jupiter, which appeared to have ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
11 votes

Could a human jump off Mimas without return?

No. Fermi estimate: Mimas' gravity is 0.064 m/s2, you need gravity to be about 1/20 of that to escape using a bike and a ramp (going by Deimos' surface gravity of 1/20 that of Mimas), lower still to ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

What is the solar flux on Titan?

The solar flux at 1 AU (Earth's distance from the sun) is ~1361 W/m2. Flux falls off as the square of distance. Saturn, on average -- and thus Titan, on average -- is about 9.58 AU from the sun, so ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why would Cassini need to reach 64 degrees inclination before "threading the needle"?

This is purely a speculation, as I have not found any official sources to confirm it, but I think they want to be able to view Saturn's pole during the fly by. The trigonometry works out at least: If ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
9 votes

Is Cassini running out of fuel?

To answer the question, 'is Cassini running out of fuel': As you'd expect, NASA has monitored Cassini's fuel levels. In 2014 JPL published a study, 'Ensuring Cassini’s End-of-Mission Propellant ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
8 votes

How much methane to push Titan into Saturn?

Let's turn the question on its head and see what exhaust velocity we need to if Titan's entire (mostly nitrogen) atmosphere were used as a propellant. $\Delta v = v_e log(m_i / m_f)$ Wikipedia tells ...
user25972's user avatar
  • 421
7 votes

How much methane to push Titan into Saturn?

Let's do a Fermi estimate: Rockets bring about 2-5% of their start mass to orbital velocity. To cancel out Titan's orbital velocity, you're looking at two orders of magnitude more fuel and oxidizer ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
7 votes
Accepted

Have gravitation multipoles of Jupiter and Saturn beyond J2 been measured or at least estimated? At least the zonal harmonics?

This article provides estimates of zonal harmonics down to $J_8$ derived from Doppler data in the Juno mission.* Tesseral harmonics are "statistically zero as expected for a fluid planet in ...
LeWavite's user avatar
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7 votes

At some point far from the Sun does the output of solar panels start dropping much faster than inverse square? If so, how fast?

Good SE questions deserve good answers. I'm not a PV expert but I can at least get the ball rolling. At some point far from the Sun does the output of solar panels start dropping much faster than ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is the evidence that the dunes of Titan are made of "water chips"?

It is modeled that the dunes must form from chips of Titan's bedrock. Whether those chips are primarily hydrocarbons or primarily water ice, depends on what Titan's crust is presumed to be composed of....
called2voyage's user avatar
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6 votes

How do Saturn's rings affect the surface of the planet?

I'm going to interpret "surface" to mean Saturn's upper atmosphere. It was recently discovered that ring particles are raining down on Saturn. It’s raining on Saturn. Each second, the planet’s ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
6 votes

How to model the gravity of Titan in GMAT

A google search for "saturn titan gravity field" turns up Durante et al. 2019. Its Table 2 lists coefficients up to degree 5.
Bob Werner's user avatar
  • 1,124
6 votes

Why use plutonium when sunlight is everywhere? Any proposals to use concentrated solar power instead of Pu238 as a heat source for TGs?

Smaller, More Robust, Proven OP's question basically includes all the information needed to show that RTGs outperform solar concentration. The 8m concentrator OP proposes would weigh ~12 kg, per the ...
codeMonkey's user avatar
  • 1,713
5 votes
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What video or imagery was captured onboard Cassini during its descent into Saturn's atmosphere?

The raw images of Cassini can be viewed online in reverse order https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/galleries/raw-images?order=earth_date+desc&per_page=50&page=0
user2705196's user avatar
  • 1,307
5 votes

Photographs and Videos "of" Cassini

Any picture of Cassini in space is an artist's conception, probably a computer rendering, although the Saturn backdrop may come from real Cassini photographs. I had thought it possible that the ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to send a CubeSat to Saturn/Enceladus?

Unlikely The problem with sending a cubesat to Saturn is power. A cubesat isn't large enough to carry a nuclear thermal generator, and almost certainly not large enough to carry enough solar cells to ...
Dan Hanson's user avatar
  • 2,228
5 votes
Accepted

Use of SRB for Saturn V

Rocket and rocket engine development takes years. The F-1 was first test-fired as a complete unit in 1959, and completed flight rating tests in 1964, and the first Saturn V flew in 1967. Aerojet's 260-...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

What was Cassini's last image?

Similar to What video or imagery was captured onboard Cassini during its descent into Saturn's atmosphere? The second answer indicates the plan was to not give priority to taking snaps during its ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
4 votes

How will Enceladus' ice-burrowing probe communicate?

Although I and many other authors of the 2007 Enceladus study would love to see such a mission happen, that seems very unlikely in the near future. The first issue is that Enceladus orbits only four ...
Vince 49's user avatar
  • 2,621
4 votes

Is Cassini running out of fuel?

tl;dr: The September 15, 2017 end for Cassini is part of the second mission extension (XXM, or Solstice Mission) proposed in 2009. The plan was approved. above: "Choosing the XXM Tour: Cassini ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
4 votes
Accepted

Why are the Rings of Saturn so much brighter than the other planets?

There are two factors at work here: The rings of Saturn are made of much more reflective material (water ice) than those of Jupiter, Uranus or Neptune. They simply have much more matter in them. This ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
  • 19.6k
4 votes

Piggybacking to Enceladus

The key to navigation when in Saturn's moon system is Titan. Cassini flew by a vast numbers of targets while barely spending any fuel. This was accomplished by a gravity assist scheme where the key ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What is the nature of a "flux tube" between Saturn and Enceladus, and what does "L‐shell=4" mean?

A "flux tube" is a magnetically-confined conduit that allows charged particles to flow between one place in a planet's magnetosphere and another. An "L-shell" is a subset of a ...
Tom Spilker's user avatar
  • 18.3k
4 votes

Has any mission to Titan tested the idea of producing electricity from Saturn's magnetic field?

To my knowledge no mission has attempted to generate electricity from Titan/Saturn's magnetic fields (or Jupiter's for that matter), a list of missions to-date includes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
Carlos N's user avatar
  • 4,474
4 votes

Have gravitation multipoles of Jupiter and Saturn beyond J2 been measured or at least estimated? At least the zonal harmonics?

For Saturn: Data from Cassini-Huygens are given in this table from phase 76 of Reference 1 $J_2×10^6=16324.19\pm0.11$ (observed) $J_4×10^6=-939.32\pm0.98$ (observed), $-971$ (theory) $J_6×10^6=91\...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,535
4 votes

How much ice from the most suitable icy moon(let) could a spacecraft, launched with an SLS Block 2, transport to the upper atmosphere of Venus?

Almost none, to be honest, using the method you propose. SLS can carry approximately 6 tons to Jupiter using a direct route (Based on Europa Clipper). To then land, cut, and re-launch would lead to a ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
4 votes

Where is the Selk crater on Titan with respect to Saturn?

So, after a lot of googling (I hesitate to call it 'research'), I've found the following: Wikipedia states that: Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and, like the Earth's moon, always has the same ...
Dave Gremlin's user avatar
  • 3,113

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