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back to article NASA's Cassini spacecraft turns 15 while spying on Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft celebrated a very lonely 15th birthday on Monday from its orbit near the planet Saturn, roughly one billion miles from Earth. Cassini was originally launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on October 15, 1997. Since then, it has logged more than 3.8 billion miles in a tour around the …

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For you Lost in Space fans...

The Cassinin was launched one day before the fictional launch of the Jupiter 2.

It is great to see that Cassini is still collecting data.

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Anonymous Coward

Wish they

Could build cars with that kind of reliability.

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Bronze badge

Re: Wish they

They already do

Unfortunately cars have to operate in a harsher environment and are operated by inefficient and unfogiving carbon units

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Devil

Re: Wish they

"Could build cars with that kind of reliability."

Cars are designed to fail the moment the warranty runs out.

They wouldn't sell very many new ones if they never broke down.

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Re: Wish they

You should see Volvo's spaceprobes

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Re: Wish they

They have them: dump trucks.

Seriously, when my father worked for a diesel engine company in the 80s, their engines were guaranteed to go 500,000 miles before a rebuild. Now, with all the regulations/emissions/etc, that may not be the case.

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Holmes

Re: Wish they

>They wouldn't sell very many new ones if they never broke down.

If I hear this B.S. once again I swear I'm gonna barf.

The alternative to the "never gonna break" car is "infinite warranty". Are your ready to drive a car built like a Humvee but that costs enough to cover the "infinite warranty"? Yeah right.

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Pint

The death of a craft....

The life of a craft seems somewhat bittersweet...

It seems on the one hand sad that such a successful venture will eventually be exterminated, with nothing physical left behind to show future generations.

But on the other hand the information gathered when it performs its last transmissions will be valuable stepping stones for the same future generations - even if they don't realise what was built and sacrificedin order to gather the information.

Those who worked on the craft must have a similar feeling - of knowing that something they've put so much blood sweat and tears into will never hang on a wall, or be handed down - but it will provide invaluable information for all of human kind (even if it's value isn't fully realised yet).

Beer is for Cassini - because it contains gas, just like Saturn (it's a poor excuse, but it'll do!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The death of a craft....

> It seems on the one hand sad that such a successful venture will eventually be exterminated, with nothing physical left behind to show future generations.

Carl Sagan talked about what might happen if the Voyager spacecraft make it through the Oort cloud and out into interstellar space; there is nothing out there so there is nothing to degrade the ships.

This raises the possibility that the Voyagers will still be out there long after the sun and the earth are gone....

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Flame

I'm going in!

Wow, that'll be some ride.

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Devil

Nostradamus said!

Anyone remember the antinuke protests at the launch site and the prophets of doom coming out of the woodwork during the Earth flyby manoeuvers, linking a CASSINI EARTH IMPACT with fuzzy DOOM PREDICTION BY NOSTRADAMUS because of ZOMG PLUTONIUM!

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Gold badge

You may ..

.. lay off the double espressos for a while..

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Mushroom

Re: Nostradamus said!

So, when will we get the doomsayers predicting the END of the solar system, because of the plutonium in the RTG exploding and causing the hydrogen and helium in Saturn to explode in a HUGE THERMONUCULAR EXPLOSION?

I would get my coat, but it was toasted in the fireball...

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Re: Nostradamus said!

I was thinking more along the lines of mankind's first contact with the giant Saturnian gas-whales will be to poison them with radioactive goo. Hey, it's what we do!

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Boffin

Ouch

That'll be some 18th birthday

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Re: Ouch

My 18th birthday was similar, although I don't remember what happened much

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Scanned Signatures

This probe is carrying the scanned signatures of thousands of schoolchildren - my daughter's amongst them!

</pride>

William

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Thumb Up

Re: Scanned Signatures

...and mine's on the Huygens probe, as I worked on its Surface Science Package over 20 years ago.

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Re: Scanned Signatures

Can you clever and responsible kindly leave this forum to us opinionated and ill-informed idiots? ;-)

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Poetry and science.

The poetic reference is probably a lot more familiar to USAnian readers. For the rest of the world:

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/stopping-by-woods-on-a-snowy-evening-2/

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Headmaster

How old?

How many times has Cassini orbited the Sun? I'd be surprised if it's been around 15 times.

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Angel

Practical calculation problem for phone users!

Divide the total cost of the Cassini project into the number of bytes transmitted back to earth (or both ways if you wish to be precise) then compare NASA's cost per byte from Saturn to Earth with that your telco charges you to transmit a byte across the room by SMS.

Now work out by how many orders of magnitude your telco is ripping you off every time you use SMS!

If you still don't believe such a magnitude warrants a complaint then factor in the differences in distance between a byte that's traveled from Saturn to that traversed by a typical SBS message.

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