View Full Version : Discussion: Cassini Arrives At Saturn Safely

2004-Jul-01, 04:41 PM
SUMMARY: Seven years after it set out from Earth, the Cassini spacecraft finally arrived safely at Saturn. Using its high-gain antenna to protect it from dust particles, the spacecraft crossed the ring plane early Thursday morning at 0203 UT (10:03pm EDT Wednesday). It fired one of its twin main engines for 96 minutes to slow down its velocity, and then pointed at Earth to transmit news of its successful arrival. The spacecraft then took detailed images of Saturn's rings, as Cassini isn't scheduled to ever get this close to them again. Cassini will now begin its 4 year mission to analyze Saturn and its moons.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Jul-01, 07:29 PM
Another successful mission in astronomy history... Hope the Cassini spacecraft can find more moons around Saturn for us... well it worth to celebrate it ^ ^...

Chode monkey
2004-Jul-01, 09:02 PM

Billions of dollars spent exploring space, while people here in the United States are homeless and starving and lacking proper education.

2004-Jul-02, 12:08 AM
Chode, the Space industry is always the first to be criticised in this manner and yet no one seems to care that the US is estimating a cost of nearly $402 BILLION dollars for defence (that does *not* include the additional $28 billion for Homeland Security) in 2005, compared to $57 billion for education, $68 billion for health and human services, $31 billion for housing and urban development and $7.6 billion for social security *Administration* services.

NASA is estimated at $16 billion.

So, in summary.... $430 billion on defence and homeland security... $163 billion on education / housing / health / social services (38% of the Defence budget) and $16 billion on NASA (just under 4% of the Defence Budget.)

If you had another $16 billion to spend on education, housing, health and social services (ie, the money that would normally go to NASA), that would only be an increase for you of about 10%.

These figures come *directly* from the White House website

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy200...005/tables.html (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2005/tables.html)

(It'll be interesting to see if these figures are 'amended' in the future, a la 1984 LOL)

I agree that more should be spent on education, housing, health and social services, but blaming NASA for their poor funding is both very unoriginal and also completely unfounded.

If you want more funding for health etc, write to your nearest political representative - but take it from the obscene military budget, not the peaceful missions of NASA.

2004-Jul-02, 12:30 AM
Additionally, according to the US Census Bureau, the population of the US is currently about 293.5 million.


Cassini was launched on October 15th, 1997 - so it's been 2,451 days since it's launch (up to July 1st, 2004)

According to the BBC, the probe cost $3.3 billion - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3857187.stm

So for every man, woman and child in the US, it's cost them half a cent for each day of the mission - to date.

That's not a bad price to pay, I think.

And don't forget, this is a joint mission with the European Space Agency, so in fact it's even less than that.

Guest of knowledge
2004-Jul-02, 04:14 AM

Show me the number of people who actually pay taxes every year. Then give me a calculation.

2004-Jul-02, 04:35 AM
I did have a look for those stats but they weren't easily available. That's really beside the point though - my point was to illustrate that blaming NASA for other budget deficencies (sic?) just doesn't hold up. I'm not saying that health, education and social services doesn't deserve more money and I'm not saying the US shouldn't have a defence program - however, spending over $400 billion on defence is obscene and yet it always seems to be that NASA is one of the first to be shot at. Why? Because regardless of successes (eg, the Mars and Saturn probes) or problems (eg, the space shuttle), it's in the public eye and both scenarios give people the opportunity to criticise the agency.

Lastly, if you click on the White House link, you'll see that over the past few years, the budget for defence has gone up by a third since 2001 (up to 2005), the budget for Homeland Security has doubled, the budgets for Education, Health & Human Services and Housing & Urban Development has gone up every year with greater increases than NASA, which will only be receiving $2 billion more in 2005 than in 2001.

The poor EPA is struggling to get the same budget each year.

2004-Jul-02, 09:56 AM
:) I'm so glad that Cassini arrived at Saturn orbit successfully! I saw some of the first images as they were received live at NASA TV yesterday afternoon. The first images of Saturn's rings were great - to think we are seeing images never before seen by human eye!!! Some were of the highest resolution ever made, especially once Cassini had passed through the ring plane & turned its cameras back from where it had come through to offer high resolution images of the rings with the light from the sun passing through them.

When the scientists find the time, the images will tell them (& us!) a whole lot more on their origin, how long they have been there & perhaps how much longer they will stay around beautifying our solar system.

Congratulations to the whole of the team that made these images possible! :)

:) Congratulations NASA! :)

Congratulations to the people working so hard on the Cassini-Huygens project! :)

2004-Jul-04, 01:28 AM
Say why they adopt the name, "Huygen" for the little probe? and where did that name come from? I think I hear this name before he was a dutch astronomer, but maybe it's not him...

2004-Jul-04, 01:41 AM
You're right, Littlemews- Christiaan Huygens was a Dutch astronomer known for his discoveries on the shape of Saturn's Rings. A biography about Huygens and his discoveries can be found here (http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Huygens.html).