Cassini-Huygens at Saturn !

The Cassini-Huygens Saturn Orbit Insertion events can be viewed at

Significant event times:

03:35 – 04:10 CEST First ring plane crossing
04:35 – 05:20 CEST During the engine burn
05:45 – 06:35 CEST Closest approach to Saturn – Telemetry resumes
06:45 – 07:00 CEST ESA reactions from JPL – Night’s summary


Like a woolly mammoth trapped in Arctic ice, Saturn’s small moon Phoebe may be a frozen artifact of a bygone era, some four billion years ago. The finding is suggested by new data from the Cassini spacecraft.

Cassini scientists reviewed data from the spacecraft’s June 11, 2004, flyby of the diminutive moon. They concluded Phoebe is likely a primordial mixture of ice, rock and carbon-containing compounds similar in many ways to material seen in Pluto and Neptune’s moon Triton. Scientists believe bodies like Phoebe were plentiful in the outer reaches of the solar system about four and half billion years ago.
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Anik F2 on schedule

Arianespace Flight 163: Anik F2 is on schedule with transfer to fueling zone

Following the checkout schedule for launch on Flight 163, the satellite Anik F2 has completed testing and validation, and was transferred on June 16 to the S5C high-bay for fueling.

The launch date for Anik F2 is expected to be on July 9 aboard an Ariane 5 G+ launcher.

To follow the latest preparations for Flight 163, see the Mission Update on Arianespace’s Web site:


The crew of the International Space Station–astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, and cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, RN3DT–could be on the air for Field Day 2004. ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth G. Ransom, N5VHO, says he’s sent Field Day operating instructions and pass times to the ISS support team at Johnson Space Center for relay to Fincke this week.
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Findings from a historic encounter between NASA’s Stardust spacecraft and a comet revealed much stranger findings than previously believed. The comet’s rigid surface, dotted with towering pinnacles, plunging craters, steep cliffs, and dozens of jets spewing violently, has surprised scientists.

“We thought Comet Wild 2 would be like a dirty, black, fluffy snowball,” said Stardust Principal Investigator Dr. Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington, Seattle. “Instead, it was mind-boggling to see the diverse landscape in the first pictures from Stardust, including spires, pits and craters, which must be supported by a cohesive surface,” Brownlee said.
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A lightweight, portable device developed by NASA scientists is enabling physicians to monitor the health and safety of explorers in remote locations on Earth. It may eventually be used in space to monitor astronauts during space travel.

The wireless LifeGuard system watched over the vital signs of several expedition members who sampled soils and water from the world’s highest alpine lake, nearly 20,000 feet up the Licancabur volcano, on the border between Chile and Bolivia, last year.
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Whenever a hurricane races across the Atlantic Ocean, chances are phytoplankton will bloom behind it. According to a new study using NASA satellite data, these phytoplankton blooms may also affect the Earth’s climate and carbon cycle.

Dr. Steven Babin, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., studied 13 North Atlantic hurricanes between 1998 and 2001. Ocean color data from the SeaWiFS instrument on the SeaStar satellite were used to analyze levels of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. The satellite images showed tiny microscopic ocean plants, called phytoplankton, bloomed following the storms.
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