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: Italy's first female astronaut heads to ISS in Russian craft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA sun probe silent now for six weeks

Nov 12, 2014

No one knows exactly why a NASA solar probe stopped talking to Earth six weeks ago, but it's possible the spacecraft is out of power and is drifting without a way of calling for help, the agency said in an ...

Dawn operating normally after safe mode triggered

Sep 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned ...

How citizen scientists took control of a spaceship

Oct 03, 2014

For decades, space exploration remained a domain within reach of only government agencies, who could command huge pools of expertise and public funds. Now the means by which our space endeavours are funded ...

Recommended for you

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

European space plane set for February launch

Nov 21, 2014

Europe's first-ever "space plane" will be launched on February 11 next year, rocket firm Arianespace said Friday after a three-month delay to fine-tune the mission flight plan.

Space station rarity: Two women on long-term crew

Nov 21, 2014

For the 21st-century spacewoman, gender is a subject often best ignored. After years of training for their first space mission, the last thing Samantha Cristoforetti and Elana Serova want to dwell on is the ...

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.