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mdxi (4658)

mdxi
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http://mdxi.collapsar.net/

Journal of mdxi (4658)

Wednesday June 30, 2004
11:56 PM

Cassini

[ #19615 ]

Completely forgot to mention that I just spent 3 hours watching the Saturn Orbital Insertion webcast while discussing it on IRC with the usual gang. It was pretty cool, though the whole affair didn't seem as tension-riddled as the Mars rover landings were. I suppose orbital insertions are more "routine" and less prone to horrible fuckups. The dumbass-friendly announcer lady was pretty horrifying though. She looked like Connie Chung and Skeletor had a baby, and kept harping on PARTICLES that were about to hit the probe. Aaaah, PARTICLES!

Pretty cool, overall. Even got to see some things get learned, as the doppler-tracking of a carrier wave (to detect changes in speed during insertion burn) behaved differently than they expected during occultations by the rings. In a nutshell, it turns out the rings don't completely obscure radio LOS, not even the dense B ring, they just make signal power drop (from a whopping 9dB) and fluctuate (between 1 and 3dB). All hail the DSN.

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  • Well consider that Cassini was going about 70,000 mph. Particles can be a big deal at that speed. A marble going at that speed can go right through a tank.
    • Yeah, but she'd ask about the particles and then the scientist would say "Well, we're not worried..." and then she'd bring it up AGAIN. And then again with the NEXT scientist. At least that stopped after the ring plane was crossed.