The Cassini spacecraft weighs 5,384 pounds by itself, but including fuel it weighed 12,288 pounds at liftoff. It stands 22 feet high and is 13.1 feet in diameter. Plus, there's a 36-foot boom. Cassini has three antenna that can transmit data between 5 bits per second and 249 kilobits per second.
Cassini carries 12 scientific instruments. There's a tool to search for gravitational waves, a microwave imagery device to pierce through Titan's thick atmosphere, an ion and neutral mass spectrometer, an infrared mapping device to identify chemical composition on the surfaces, a dust analyzer to study ice and dust grains, and an instrument to study plasma waves. It also takes photographs in visible, near-ultraviolet and near-infrared light.
Just imagine what it could see with today's technology.
October 17, 2007 8:20 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
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