back to article Say 'cheese'! Cassini probe ZOOMS IN on Saturn's craggy Dione moon

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has passed tantalisingly close to Saturn's pitted, icy Dione moon. The probe was within 321 miles (516 kilometres) of Dione on 16 June, the US space agency said. Cassini will have an even closer encounter with the moon on 17 August, when it's expected to swoop within 295 miles (474 kilometres) of …

  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. VeganVegan

    Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

    I am always amazed at how accurately they guide Cassini around the Saturnian system, what with all the various satellites and ring system to visit (and to dodge).

    The same with how they control Rosetta orbiting around the comet with such precision.

    Hats off to the engineers & their celestial mechanics. Newton would be very proud.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

      Aye, agreed: it really is amazing when you start to think about the challenges involved:

      Imagine you have a really stiff neck, backbone, legs and, obviously, upper lip. Now imagine you are pushed on the soles of your feet upwards with an acceleration that makes your eyes water. Imagine trying to simply stay upright in response to tiny sideways forces. OK you've now made it off planet.

      Let's step up the acceleration for a while (there's no wind resistance up here and gravity is less of a problem as a negative acceleration backwards). How the hell do you determine your velocity here anyway, when do you stop being pushed? You've still go to keep yourself pointing in the right direction and not start tumbling and you have to report back and respond to orders from far away.

      There are no Goog maps or TomTom here. Actually there are no roads, you've not got enough power to stay conscious for most of the journey and your alarm clock has to be really good to wake you up at the right time. Also there are no Hobnobs for millions of miles.

      Astonishing? Not enough expletives!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

        It's possible that the bright spots on Ceres are, in fact, the Clanger's Hobnob mines. Which is good news for planetary travelling, if true.

        1. Dusty

          Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

          As I recall, the original plan for the original Orion Nuclear rocket (Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970) was to have a crew of around 30. Mainly because, in the absence of the computers that we today take for granted, it would have taken that many people to do the in flight calculations by hand!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Astonishing feats of celestial navigation

      I think anyone that still has a sense of awe and wonderment is amazed by what's been happening in space. This planet really needs more of two types of people... the ones who can dream big and get things done and the other are those will be amazed by the discoveries. Too many folks around with their heads up FB or some other place and just too self-centered to look up.

  3. gerdesj Silver badge

    Oooo it's quiet here all of a sudden

    There are comments that are listed as deleted above. Now my recollection is that they weren't particularly controversial nor offensive but I glossed over them and responded to VeganVegan. If they had been naughty, then I _would_ have bit (probably)

    So we have el Reg possibly censoring broadly due to offences caused elsewhere (outside this article's comments).

    I think it might be nice to see a short censorship reason tag applied to removed comments. It's a good thing to note them but I think a red top with integrity (very rare breed your red top with integrity) should go further or my tinfoil hat will be replaced with a 1.475mm thick hyperdimensional artifact manufactured from, well ali OK Al, diluted 50 billion times in bullshit and stuff.

    Just a thought.

  4. Camilla Smythe


    "The present Black Hole is a result of The Butterfly Effect whereby the clever sods tipped gravity balance and it sort of tumbled into itself"

    "Yes. That's all Physics and technical stuff. But did the associated Civilisation develop a sustainable advertising culture before its demise?"

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Orbital mechanics et al

    Somewhat* above my plane of mathematics.

    * astronomically

  6. 0laf

    And another shocking thing

    This machine has been out there since 1997. 18 years.

    I wonder if NASA is seeing the benefit in cash and kudos of their probes that just seem to keep going and going.

    These things must be tough as hobnail boots.

    The little Opportunity Mars rover is still going too 10yr on when the original mission was 90 days (Martian)

  7. goldfish

    If they built cars, buses or planes to the quality and endurance of these space probes, we'd only ever need 2 or 3.

    Wait a minute, didn't they say that about computers ?

    1. Michael Dunn


      Yes. Thomas Watson Jnr (of IBM! fame) is believed to have said at some time in the late '50s or 'early '60s: "There is a world market for 11 computers."

      ("Who would ever want more than 640K of memory?")

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