Author Topic: NASA Resurrects Saturn Science Tool on Cassini Spacecraft  (Read 620 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Buster's Uncle

  • Through art, I
  • Transcend
  • *
  • Posts: 46209
  • €1099
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Someone thinks a Winrar is You!  Because there are times when people just need a cute puppy  Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur  
  • AC2 is my instrument, my heart, as I play my song.
  • Planet tales writer Smilie Artist Custom Faction Modder AC2 Wiki contributor Downloads Contributor
    • View Profile
    • My Custom Factions
    • Awards
NASA Resurrects Saturn Science Tool on Cassini Spacecraft
« on: March 22, 2012, 03:38:21 PM »
NASA Resurrects Saturn Science Tool on Cassini SpacecraftBy Staff | – 3 hrs ago...

NASA engineers have revived a vital science instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn, bringing the 15-year-old probe back to full strength for the first time in nine months.
On Friday (March 16), engineers reactivated Cassini's plasma spectrometer, one of 12 instruments used by the spacecraft to study Saturn and its many moons, NASA officials said this week. It is designed to measure the energy and electrical charge of particles around Saturn.
The spectrometer suffered an apparent short circuit last year and was switched off in June to avoid further damage while mission managers studied the glitch.
"The investigation led to the conclusion that tin plating on electronics components had grown "whiskers,'" NASA officials explained in a mission update Monday (March 19). "The whiskers were very small, less than the diameter of a human hair, but they were big enough to contact another conducting surface and carry electrical current."
Scientists still don't fully understand why the so-called metal whiskers develop on tin and other metal materials on spacecraft, as well as on machines on Earth. But the whiskers inside the Cassini electronics should not post a problem.
"It is believed that these or additional tin whiskers that may grow on Cassini cannot carry enough current to cause problems, but will burn out on their own like a lightweight fuse," explained NASA officials with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., which oversees the Cassini mission.
Cassini's odd metal whisker problem began on May 1, 2011, when engineers first detected surprising voltage changes in the spacecraft's equipment. The voltage readings hinted that a short circuit was in process. When the glitch occurred again on June 11, mission managers opted to shut down the plasma spectrometer until it could be explained.
With the spectrometer back online, it is once more available for Cassini mission scientists hoping to better understand the environment around Saturn, its rings and moons.
NASA launched the Cassini mission in 1997, with the spacecraft arriving at Saturn in 2004. The probe also carried a European-built lander called Huygens that landed on Saturn's biggest moon Titan in 2005.
Cassini's originally mission ended in 2008, but the flight has been extended two times, most recently until 2017. The mission is a joint effort by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.


* User

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Select language:

* Community poll

SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
19 (7%)
XP Compatibility patch
9 (3%)
Gog version for Windows
78 (29%)
Scient (unofficial) patch
30 (11%)
Kyrub's latest patch
14 (5%)
Yitzi's latest patch
86 (32%)
AC for Mac
2 (0%)
AC for Linux
5 (1%)
Gog version for Mac
10 (3%)
No patch
13 (4%)
Total Members Voted: 266
AC2 Wiki Logo

* Random quote

Some civilian workers got in among the research patients today and became so hysterical I felt compelled to have them nerve stapled. The consequence, of course, will be another public relations nightmare, but I was severely shaken by the extent of their revulsion towards a project so vital to our survival.
~CEO Nwabudike Morgan, The Personal Diaries

* Select your theme