Sunday, November 2, 2008

Notes (from Bruce Moomaw)

(1) The presentations at the June OPFM Instruments Workshop ( ) are extremely useful.

(2) Mark Perry's presentation ( , pg. 17) points out something I should have caught but didn't: the long dipole antenna for the proposed subsurface radar sounder on the Titan Flagship can only be deployed after the spacecraft has braked into an initial elongated orbit around Titan and then gradually aerobraked into a low orbit around it -- so, it cannot do any subsurface radar sounding of Enceladus during the flybys of that world. However, I see nothing to indicate that the proposed Polymer Mass Spectrometer couldn't analyze gases or light aerosols in Enceladus' plumes -- or, with proper augmentation, larger solid particles in the plumes if they impact a metal target, as with Cassini's current Cosmic Dust Analyzer. (Of course, the high speed of the impacts would tend to break down complex organics into simpler ones.)

(3) Still nothing on the upcoming New Frontiers 3 announcement of opportunity -- but, while looking for it, I discovered that the team that proposed the "OSIRIS" near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid sample return that was a Discovery finalist last time has made the sensible decision to propose a souped-up version of it ("OSIRIS REx") for the upcoming New Frontiers AO ( ). The nature of the scientific souping-up is undescribed; but there are 7 possible targets, including Wilson-Harrington.

1 comment:

  1. I just looked over the Titan orbiter instrument presentation. The resolution of the altimeter is not all that high, 1x10km footprint. Normal imaging doesn't help because the clouds largely eliminate shadows.

    However, if the imager had an offset band (one looking down, and the other looking offset to the rear), then topography could be reconstructed on a local scale at near the resolution of the camera (nominal 50m).

    The ASTER instrument on Terra does this for the Earth, and the Mars Express camera does it at Mars (which is how they produced all those 3-D images).