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Cassini's Space Odyssey To Saturn 45

An anonymous reader writes in with this look at the amazingly successful Cassini mission and the discoveries it has made. Scientists says Cassini is helping them understand how our solar system developed. Of the astronomically profound discoveries it's made over a decade of circling, the startling hint this April of a new moon being formed in the rings of Saturn is merely the latest. Indeed, the spacecraft Cassini — which inserted itself into orbit around the giant gas planet in July, 2004 — has transmitted imagery and sensory data back to Earth that has given us a new understanding of our bejewelled neighbour three doors down. "It's one of the most successful (space) missions probably ever," says University of Toronto astrophysicist Hanno Rein, whose own work has been significantly informed by the tiny craft's output.
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Cassini's Space Odyssey To Saturn

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  • Big (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @05:36PM (#47395251) Journal

    whose own work has been significantly informed by the tiny craft's output.

    Tiny? I saw a clone in a space museum. That sucker is almost as big as a bus.

    Anyhow, as a science mission, it has to rank up there almost with the Voyagers in terms of new and fascinating discoveries.

  • by Gareth Iwan Fairclough ( 2831535 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:29PM (#47395787)

    Huh, I had overlooked the name when reading the article, just read right though to "some physics prof thinks NASA is wrong and it's actually super-dangerous". Didn't realize it was Michio Kaku, which is indeed surprising.

    It wasn't surprising to me in all honesty. The man is very intelligent yes, but when it comes to nuclear energy he simply will not look at the facts. I've read a few books by him and every single one has had some mention of nuclear energy in it and all of those mentions could be paraphrased as "Nuclear fission reactors are bad and you would be bad for thinking they could ever possibly be good". In fact, I recall that he dedicated an entire book to that very message.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2014 @07:29PM (#47395789)
    That is an impressive estimate considering Cassini had about 33 kg of plutonium, while 200k deaths is the upper limit of estimates of deaths from Chernobyl (and considered way overestimating the deaths), which released nearly 6 tons of fuel and transuranics, plus a several thousand PBq of shorter lived isotopes and hundreds of PBq of medium lived isotopes (the 33 kg of plutonium is only 0.4 PBq and medium halflife of 87 years).
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:23PM (#47396071) Homepage Journal

    Michio Kaku is very intelligent, but he's also an attention whore of the first order.
    Too often, that seems to trump reason and restraint.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?