Cassini Gets Close-Up Views of Saturn's Moon Iapetus

Sep 12, 2007
Cassini Gets Close-Up Views of Saturn's Moon Iapetus
Saturn's moon Iapetus. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Cassini completed its closest flyby of the odd moon Iapetus on Sept. 10, 2007. The spacecraft flew about 1,640 kilometers (1,000 miles) from Iapetus' surface and is returning amazing views of the bizarre moon.

All the data were successfully recorded on the spacecraft. Twenty-one minutes into the first post-flyby data downlink, the spacecraft went into a precautionary condition called "safe mode. The cause has been determined to be a solid state power switch that was tripped due to a galactic cosmic ray hit.

While in safe mode, the spacecraft turns off all unnecessary activities and transmits only essential engineering telemetry at a low data rate, while it awaits commands from Earth.

Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, commands were sent to the spacecraft to resume high rate science and engineering data playback. The project expects all data on the spacecraft will be returned to Earth during downlinks on Tuesday and Wednesday, with no impact on the Iapetus science data return beyond a brief delay.

Due to the safing event, the sequence executing on the spacecraft was halted, and Cassini's instruments will not be turned back on for three or four days. The last time Cassini was in safe mode was over four years ago.

Source: NASA

Explore further: How bad can solar storms get?

Related Stories

Domino's taking orders via tweet

2 hours ago

Domino's on Wednesday launched perhaps the easiest way to satisfy a pizza craving this side of mind reading: order by tweet.

Recommended for you

How bad can solar storms get?

May 22, 2015

Our sun regularly pelts the Earth with all kinds of radiation and charged particles. How bad can these solar storms get?

Mars rover's ChemCam instrument gets sharper vision

May 22, 2015

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover's "ChemCam" instrument just got a major capability fix, as Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists uploaded a software repair for the auto-focus system on the instrument.

GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing

May 21, 2015

The GOES-R satellite, slated to launch in 2016, is ready for environmental testing. Environmental testing simulates the harsh conditions of launch and the space environment once the satellite is in orbit. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.