Friday, April 23, 2010

Not so fast, Cassini!

An article in the New York Times Science section explains how our space explorer Cassini is being programmed to orbit round Saturn for many more years. Some of the orbits will be really broad and slow. There are two reasons for this, made explicit in the Times’ article. First, the broader orbits will save precious fuel. Second, and this is so incredible, Cassini is being programmed so that it won’t fly past the moon Titan too often. Each time it nears Titan, more people are needed to process the fantastic information that Cassini collects. But we mustn’t spend ca$h on such manpower too often, must we? Our wonderful country is going to collect information about the Universe more slowly, to avoid going over some yearly budget. Patience, patience...
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