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back to article SPACE, the FINAL FRONTIER: These are the images of the star probe Cassini

OK, we don't have starships yet. But on some days a space enthusiast can smile anyway - on a day like today, when NASA releases new and tremendously cool photos, in this case from the probe craft Cassini - now nine years into its twenty-year mission to survey the strange new worlds of the far-flung Saturnian system. Home The …

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Cassini Lensmen?

You mean Kimball Kinnison's been out there all along?

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Re: Cassini Lensmen?

My thought' exactly!

Gharlane of Eddore would be a satisfactory explanation for Simon Cowell of course ...

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Coat

Gharlane of Eddore would be a satisfactory explanation for Simon Cowell of course ...

Gharlane is known by many names.

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Hey

I can see your house from up here!

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Unhappy

I want a Neptune orbiter

Please, I do not want to die without some more pictures/data about Neptune...

If Neptune is not feasible Uranus then.

It will not happen, politicos are in charge of the budget. :-(

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

There are various proposal for what to do with Cassini when it completes it's current mission. One of these is to send it onwards to Uranus...

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009457651200149X

There is some uncertainty however that there would be sufficient power available to do any signifiant science at destination given the decade or so that it would take to transit.

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

No way. I've seen the PSA's, if you take pictures of Uranus they might get posted online and have a negative impact on your future career opportunities.

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

but I thought pictures of Uranus were generally available on teh Interwebs.

Oh, wait. You meant the planet. My mistake. Carry on.

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Anonymous Coward

re: if you take pictures of Uranus @Don Jefe

@Don Jefe - I enjoy your usual posts but this is just the kind of thing which keeps interest away from one of the most spectacularly unusual objects in the solar system. Exactly because so few people pronounce the planet's name in the unembarrassed way pioneered by Sir Patrick Moore, ignorance remains about it. For example, the planet has a 90º axial tilt and its ring-plane is different again. But who knew, when the schoolboys can never get over their giggling to get into the science of the place ... ? Sad, sad, sad. Sorry, Don Jefe, your posts are usually much more interesting - this comment is unworthy of you.

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Happy

Re: re: if you take pictures of Uranus @Don Jefe

Dude. I give El Reg heads up on astronomy stories all the time (you're welcome) and spend all winter with my big old school orange tube Celestron C-11 freezing my ass off to give grammar school kids a peek at the things in the heavens. In short I really like astronomy.

I also like to poke fun at the cunning linguist who named Uranus. It's a perfect classic setup and there's nothing wrong with having a little giggle at the silly things in life. It's the people who can't laugh at silly things that are in way over their heads. Possibly you're just having a bad day or perhaps a change in your toilet paper manufacturers product has caused you to have (wait for it)...

Klingons on Uranus?

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

Haven't you heard? Uranus was such an embarrassing name they decided to change it to Urectum!

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

Isn't that what happened to so many Mars probes?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: if you take pictures of Uranus @Don Jefe

Well, that's great, and I really like to think of you and your orange tube Celestron - wish I could had one too ! But how many people never get past laughing at the name and see something this spellbinding themselves ? Most, I wager .... http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/solar_system/uranus/pr1998035a/

I'm pretty sure the schoolboys brain-stopping pronunciation is just dead wrong - the Greeks probably pronounced it something like 'OO-raa-nus' anyway ....

And, no, my toilet paper is soft and I'm having just another happy day ... thanks for the dialogue, like I say, your usual comments are more interesting ...

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Re: I want a Neptune orbiter

"Isn't that what happened to so many Mars probes?"

Well, Mars seems to be getting more support than other planets. When NASA announced the 2020 Mars Rover, to be based on Curiosity, there was some shock in the planetary science community that NASA was so obsessed with Mars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_2020_rover_mission#Reactions

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"now nine years into its twenty-year mission"

Launched in 1997 - That means that it is in its 16th year.

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Boffin

Presumably accounting for the time it took to get to Saturn to actually start what it was there to do rather than simply from launch date.

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Anonymous Coward

S'gotta be ....

>> "now nine years into its twenty-year mission"

>>>> Launched in 1997 - That means that it is in its 16th year.

Time dilation, innit!

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But it was stated that it was a 20 year mission, to 2017.

2017 - 20 = 1997.

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El Reg sponsors maff lessons...

cool!

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priorities

Shouldn't America balance its budget before wasting money on faking space exploration projects!!!!!!????

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Re: priorities

You forgot the troll or joke icon.

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Joke

Re: priorities

Especially when faking space exploration is highly cost effective and a great sign that the budget is being well balanced.

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Re: priorities

The stickman sez it better:

http://xkcd.com/1074/

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Re: priorities

> http://xkcd.com/1074/

And the reason for THAT is the ISS and the space shuttle: two exceedingly expensive projects which could never get above low earth orbit, but which sucked up all money available for manned space flight. It wasn't until the shuttle was decommissioned it became possible to start planning for new manned missions. I just wish we could get rid of the utterly useless ISS too.

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Holmes

Re: priorities

> balance its budget

Balancing the budget is not the problem (though it is a problem). Filling the debt hole is.

We need to actually tell them to LAUNCH MORE MISSIONS while they still can.

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Re: priorities

Space research is fantastic and we have come a huge way in the last 50 years or so.

Alas in the last 30 accountancy developments have meant that any money headed anywhere ends up in the wrong place legally.

In a couple of years India's Mars mission will turn into a Bacon Triptych in an office somewhere.

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Re: priorities

upvoted for noticing. :)

I was commenting on the reaction to MOM really so maybe the budget meme just muddied the water. I always think if you need a joke/troll icon, ur holding it wrong.

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FAIL

Re: priorities

Anyone else going to step up? Yeah, I didn't think so. Go fuck yourself.

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Re: priorities

It was balance when this mission was launched, thanks to Bill Clinton presidency.

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Shouldn't it actually say...

Earth - mostly harmless

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Shows some of the difference between a .jpg & .tif

NASA state on their webpage that the photo shows the moon also as a slight extension to the south-east of the earth 'blob' - on the .tif image it looks to be so but the .jpg has artifacts which mask it . The difference in size between the files is 94MB/0.76MB so I guess that's a reasonable tradeoff.

(I did need to use my reading glasses at ~6" from the 1920x1080 display to see it though )

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Budget

Shame it looks like any extension to Cassini will put it up against Curiosity for money, which is not a compromise I'd like to have to make.

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/van-kane/20131112_Cassini_extended_mission.html

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Missed a trick here

Why not "You are here, your luggage is in alpha centauri"?

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Holmes

Could you imagine living on one of Saturn's moons, in some sort of mining colony maybe, and watching Saturn rise above the horizon? With the gravity of the planet I imagine you and everything around you would be much lighter when the planet is directly above and heavier when Saturn is on the other side of the moon you are living on.

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Re: tides

"Tides on Titan raised by Saturn's gravity can be as high as 30 feet (10 meters)."

The mind boggles when you consider the distances involved just within the Saturn moon system.

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/video/videodetails/?videoID=246

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everything around you would be much lighter when the planet is directly above and heavier when Saturn is on the other side of the moon you are living on [Computation needed]

I am not fully sure tides work that way.

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Headmaster

I am not fully sure tides work that way.

I am sure tides don't work that way on a moon, as moons tend to be tidal locked to their planet.

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Not significantly, no. Remember, that moon you are standing on is in free fall around the planet. If anything, you would be marginally lighter with it both underfoot and overhead due to tidal effect. In the same way that the high tide follows both the near & far sides of the Earth from the Moon.

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Re: tides

> "Tides on Titan raised by Saturn's gravity can be as high as 30 feet (10 meters)."

Finally. This is the first mention I've seen of the fact that there are implications of having a gravity strong enough to knead the ice of Europa into a liquid sea from friction heating: gigantic tides and *enormously* powerful currents.

Titan wont have all that much, as the "lakes" are small (similar-sized lakes on Earth have virtually no tides at all) but the planet-wide subsurface ocean of Europa... ah, now that is where it gets interesting.

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Saw this one earlier today and wondered about it, briefly. Was moving about and all.

Also couldn't read the screen, as I was out and about and left my reading glasses at home.

Now, I'm as annoyed about an Ubuntu install error that has gray hair as I am about missing this.

As in setting the lot of hardware and software afire.

Can't think of something non-self-destructive to set afire to equal it.

Maybe I'll switch, not distros, but OS's again.

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Breathtaking, really brings a joyous smile to ones face.

This is just plain gorgeous! It almost brings one to tears at the shear beauty and majesty of our universe and especially the amazing images of our own back yard!

I love that we can see so much in such a high resolution picture, Earth, Venus, Mars, and of course the moons.

Looking forward to future images from any of our spacecrafts, and hopefully we get as lucky as we did with this one.

Also the hilarious coincidence is that i gave a speech/report on Saturn and Enceladus just 24 hours before this. If you ask me this is reward enough for that and i for one feel lucky to be alive to see this!

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nasa camera

I reckon they'd have a market (and decent source of income) if they started designing and manufacturing cameras on the side.

I mean, no one has a longer history with digital (and analogue!) electronic cameras than nasa.

Don't forget these amazing shots were taken with 2 1MP cameras - yup ONE megapixel.

good work boys.

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tasking...shudder

..pics of mother Terra from so far off are rare as tasking them generally risks..

Please please please can we leave crappy management/PR/HR speak out of a tech site? Please?

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Happy

Re: tasking...shudder

I suspect (hope?) it is just a typo, and "tasking" should read "taking," and have humbly suggested that the sub-editors have a look at it.

It is a little distressing though, that we see an error and don't think "this is not right" but rather "harumph! More non-sensical jargon." A reflection on something, I'm sure. Buggered if I can figure out what though.

Of course, it could be an expression of the magical faith we have in the writers and editorial types instead.

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Boffin

Re: tasking...shudder

No, sorry "Tasking" in this context is correct, and it is a technical term. You upload a series of tasks for the craft to do, and so you use the gerund of the word to say "tasking". Whether the use of the word in the more general sense is correct or not (along with gems like "nominal") I leave as an exercise for the grammar nazis aficionados:)

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