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Space Mission: Cassini-Huygens - Essay Example

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Space Mission: Cassini–Huygens Since its inception in the mid-20th century the United States NASA program has contributed to space exploration and human progress in a myriad of ways. While space observation is a prominent aspect of operations, perhaps the most seminal occurrences are the space missions…
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Space Mission: Cassini-Huygens
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"Space Mission: Cassini-Huygens"

Download file to see previous pages Cassini-Huygens is a NASA mission that explored Saturn and its surrounding satellites. The mission is an expansive operation spanning a number of primary objectives. Among the most prominent objectives is the furthered understanding of the structure and behavior of Saturn’s rings. While Saturn’s rings have long intrigued scientists and amateur astronomers alike the mission has been able to investigate their composition and dynamic content. In addition to the investigation of the rings of Saturn, the mission is concerned with further determining the structure and geological history of the surrounding objects. In terms of more specific objectives the mission has sought to better understand lapetus leading hemisphere by examining the nature and origin of dark material. Saturn’s atmosphere has remained shrouded in mystery to scientists; as such this mission has sought to further understand this atmosphere, particularly at cloud level. Final objectives include the understanding of Titan’s clouds and hazes, and describing Titan’s surface on a regional scale. Of course NASA recognizes that new information being gathered will lead to new paradigmatic understandings of the planet and its surrounding elements, greatly contributing to very knowledge structural nature of the galaxy. The Cassini-Huygen mission’s spacecraft designs are another important consideration. The spacecraft is a three-axis stabilized, RTG-powered Mariner Mark II (Harland). This specific design necessarily considered the demands of exploration beyond the orbit of Mars. In his early stages the Cassini was constructed in conjunction with the Comet Asteroid Flyby (CRAF); however, the later was scrapped because of budget cuts, to ensure the Cassini craft could survive (Harland). The ultimate spacecraft design was the largest and most complex interplanetary built to date. The spacecraft measures twenty-two feet high and more than thirteen feet wide (Harland). This expansive size is necessitated by the spacecraft’s trajectory to Saturn and the strenuous and ambition it faces when it reaches its destination. The mission launched in 1997 and entered Saturn’s orbit in 2004. In 2008 the mission changed its name to the Cassini Equinox Mission, and in 2010 to the Cassini Solstice Mission. The latest incarnation is scheduled to remain through 2017 (Harland). To a large extent the mission has completed most of its mission objectives. While a comprehensive articulation of the mission’s obtained objectives would take a lengthy report, there are a number of highly notable accomplishments. One notable undertaking was tests on Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The tests were undertaken by sending radio probes from the Cassini. Scientists then measured frequencies in the radio shift as they traveled close to the sun (Harland). The findings confirmed the previous findings of the General Theory of Relativity (Harland). While not directly related to Saturn the mission also included a Jupiter flyby. The Jupiter flyby was significant as it afforded scientists the opportunity to conducts detailed measurements that had never been established before. In addition over 26,000 images of Jupiter were taken (Harland). These images allowed scientists to develop the most detailed global color portrait of Jupiter yet. Analysis of these images also has revealed significant information regarding Jupiter’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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