Sunday, November 15, 2009
More on Saturn Probes
After my previous post on Saturn atmospheric probes, Bruce Moomaw pointed me to a 2007 presentation (http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/41220/1/07-1820.pdf) that had much more information on trajectories for the Saturn encounter. In this study, two probes would descend to 10 bars (a shallow depth) for in situ studies while the carrier craft would probe the atmosphere to 100 bar depths with a microwave radiometer. The latter measurements can only be made from within 60,000 km. A flyby carrier can easily get close enough with a periapsis of 11,700 km. An orbiter would come only within 60,000 km on it's initial trajectory. Subsequent orbits, such as those planned for the Cassini end of mission, would have to be used to get close enough for effective radiometer measurements.