NASA's Cassini spacecraft will tomorrow do an "in your face" flyby of diminutive Saturnian moon Enceladus, passing as close as 50km (30 miles) above the surface in an attempt to gain valuable data on geysers spewing water vapour and other matter from giant fractures at the body's south pole. Artist's impression of Cassini's …
Water? - Sensitive electronics?
Are they really going to fly billions of dollars worth of kit through water ice? At that speed water ice must be very dangerous or worse wet. I hope the probe went into space with its pac-a-mac
I think that if it all gets warm enough for the ice to melt, then there are more serious problems than water.
Just a cosmic car (or spaceprobe) wash.
They obviously decided that Cassini was dirty.
With the wax and polish, please.
Wouldn't a jet of ice going at "400 metres per second (800mph)" be somewhat hazardous to the course of the spacecraft? I mean if the thing veers off a few degrees it could get completely lost...
The speed of the water jets are nothing compared to Cassini's approach speed of about 14km/s. At that speed anything as big as a grain of rice could cause big problems for the probe, but the mission controllers seem pretty confident that the water & dust particles are miniscule in size.
Do you really think that the boffins at NASA and the JPL would do anything even remotely risky with a multibillion dollar-, fully functional spacecraft that still has several years of active service left?
so no problem for the electronics.
Water is conductive , ice is not ...
Anything even remotely risky...
... like mixing English units with Metric ones in design of a spacecraft?
Not even remotely risky
Cassini will be at an altitude of 200km when sampling plume material (which, incidentally, is thought to consist of massively dispersed micron-sized particles). So to all intents and purposes it's still flying through vacuum, and not passing through a car-wash.
A wash in vacuum
A wash and vacuum....