Greetings From Houston

Amanda HendrixAmanda Hendrix, Cassini Scientist on the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph

So here I am in Houston at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (aka LPSC). It’s Tuesday morning and yesterday was an interesting day, filled mainly with results from the first MESSENGER flyby of Mercury. Thursday afternoon there’s a session dedicated to Enceladus with talks on topics such as the possibility of a near-surface ocean, frictional heating, and crater chains. So I’ll be yawning my way through that session — not that it won’t be interesting, but I’m planning to stay up most of Wednesday night to watch my science data come in from tomorrow’s exciting Enceladus flyby! I’m super excited about it, and crossing my fingers that everything goes as planned.  Also, tomorrow at noon, Alan Stern (Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA HQ) will give a talk — I’m hoping he’ll mention the Enceladus flyby!

More soon from LPSC …


8 thoughts on “Greetings From Houston”

  1. Best of luck in the close flyby of Enceladus. I am looking forward to the secrets of Enceladus that ye will discover, Brendan

  2. Thank you for sharing, Im a laid public person.
    But at least a little i can fill your excitement.
    I wish all thinks surprising and wonderfull.

    Ill be here at night and tomorrow, also waiting…

  3. Is this the first time that material from an alien ocean will be sampled?

    Will the analysis of the particles’ composition be able to determine if life-derived ratios of elements are present?

  4. Of all the hardware on and around Mars it will be a tiny bit embarrassing if Cassini swoops into the atmosphere of Enceladus and gets a sniff of life in the geyser water.
    Fantastic if it turns out that way though. It’s going to happen sooner or later.
    What will it mean to the people of Earth when life is discovered on one of these bodies. There are momentous times ahead of us and I just hope the human race can cope!

  5. I fully support all of your work with my money and my mouth. I think that all of you scientists are great examples of the pursuit of knowlege throughout the universe, and you are an inspiration to all that a good education and critical thinking lead to exciting discoveries, no matter what field of work you are in. And… by your enthusiastic attitude, you have shown you can have fun doing it. I like watching whenever you are on the NASA channel to see the look of discovery in your faces when new things come in. Thanks for letting me experience the feeling of exploration along with your efforts.
    Now… if the spacecraft can just avoid getting rusty through the water vapor…

    Joe Slezak

  6. Wow exciting times to be sure. Hey what is the operating system on Cassini anyways? (hopefully it’s not the blue screen of death variety)’s totally amazing that whatever it is can be controlled with such extreme precision even with the time delay.

    Good luck!

  7. Such a exciting mission with such an exciting & pretty scientist! I do not think that Cassini will get in touch with life, and even if it would, I doubt that the instruments are capable of telling that for sure. Remember the times of the Viking landers that had a lot of time for analysis, came up with a result that looked like “life” – what is it and what not? – and could not determine it for sure.

  8. C’mon….c’mon.
    Don’t keep the results to yourselves. What was achieved, what was significant. What, what, what?
    AND getting back to my earlier question….Has Cassini come through unscathed.
    Congratulations to all of you for allowing my mind to soar. You tell me one thing and I’ll ask ten questions. BUT that’s the way it’s supposed to be …right!

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