Amanda HendrixAmanda Hendrix, Cassini Scientist on the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (bio)

Well everyone, this is both exciting and a relief! — the flyby is over and we couldn’t have hoped for a smoother ride! I got word last night (during dinner!) that we had a signal from Cassini, which initially meant that the spacecraft hadn’t safed (always a good thing), and then the data started coming in.  Now, the downlink pass is over, the images are down, and they look wonderful!  I’m busy downloading and having a first look at the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph data (thanks to Alain and crew for getting them into the database so quickly!).
Thanks so much to everyone out there for your support and great questions. We have more Enceladus flybys planned for later this year — here’s hoping they all go as nicely as this one. There’s a lot more to come!!
Amanda from Houston

22 thoughts on “YIPPEE (and PHEW!)”

  1. Hi,that is nice,it is wonderful that I can write something here,I am a colleage student.Good luck to you.

  2. Perhaps I am repeating others.. and proberbly all of you have already noticed (it before).. but some the craters on this moon look like the rocks that hit this world hit Mud (or even wetter material “blubber” as the Dutch call it).. As if they hit ground that became liquid and froze again.. This is esp. the case with the two large craters that are connected and have these mountains in it.

    I have seen many images of moons and planets now, but looking (a long time.. in trance over the beauty of it all) at the photo’s of this world this morning, I must say I have not seen many craters like that before..

  3. there is word that there was some data transmission failure. say it aint so!

  4. Great to hear that everything went well. I have been tracking the progress of this program for a while. Cant wait to see the images.



  5. #Rick: As far as I know, that’s because the icy crust is flexible, the shape of craters relaxes by gravity over time and the center is bumped up. The older crust of Enceladus is quite stressed and probably craters reshaped more easily there than on deep frozen moons.

  6. If you find liquid water on Enceladus of any significant quantity, we’ll create a robotic submarine to investigate. These are great times!


  7. Great Job Guys,
    I’ve always been fascinated with space, I hope someday I can work with NASA in some way and be able to explore space. One question although, when is NASA going to get around exploring some of these planets like Jupitor, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune up close may be even try to get actual pictures of the surface of these planets and is there a chance there will be another purposal to explore Europa the sixth moon of Jupitor?

  8. Cassini is a great space probe and hopefully it will provide many more discoveries. What we really need, though, is lander on Enceladus(or even better yet a rover). Unfortunately, that will have to wait a long time because Titan is priority # 1, and perhaps rightfully so. But still, I have to agree that Enceladus is interesting.

    BTW, What are Enceladus’s eruption plumes made out of anyway?

  9. What is this about a transmission failure? Is there any truth to it?

    Hope not — keep up the good work!


  10. This is fascinating and beautiful. I have an Enceladus picture on my wall (the one in false colors and tiger stripes on the south) and I must say it is my favorite. I waiting for some new great discoveries (and new mosaic for my wall… lol). Congratulations for the Cassini team!

  11. Gosh, you all at JPL, NASA etc. must have the patience of Job…to wait ten years for Cassini to become the paparazzi chasing Enceladus! Bravo!

  12. Looking forward to the Cassini/Enceladus findings in a couple weeks, hope we dont have to wait several months to see it in a tech journal (that would prohibit you from talking about now!). Keep up the good work, thanks for the exciting ride, any plans to go closer to the surface during the next flyby, how is the spacecraft’s health?…

  13. Hello Amanda,
    Has the space craft managed to come through the encounter with a completely clean bill of health. I know now that the machine was carrying the instruments to do this scientific work and that it had been planned to conduct these flybys from the start. You lot kept that very quiet by the way. Well actually you didn’t but I never picked up on it and I’m fairly astute at times.
    When will the data be released to us mere mortals about the chemical composition of the inside of Enceladus. The imagination of humankind is astounding, who’d have thought these events possible.
    Congratulations to all at NASA…see what happens when people are left to get on with doing something they love. Fantastic!

  14. Wonderful job! We will be waiting for other closer passing-by(s).

    Just something I wonder, the cassini is said to be traveling with 15km/s (relative to enceladus?), with such a speed were not you expecting the spacecraft would be damaged by the particles?
    With a very quick and simple calculation, a 2 grams of a particle hitting the craft with that speed will have the energy of a 70 kg person hitting a car traveling with 70km/hr.

    Were you certain that there was no particle above, say a few milligrams?

  15. Woohoo! Great job you’ve done. I’m especialy pleased by the idea of this blog. It’s great to be able to share the excitement of the team. Make us feel a bit like we’re part of it. Kudos to everyone and I’ve also a the poster with the blue stripe on my office wall (as well as lot of other moons). Can’t wait to leanr what you’ll find.


  16. Wonderful and exciting time! When do we see results and images of this close flyby through the plume? Would be great if we could see raw images of latest flyby seprately from all other stored raw images. Keep up the excitement and great work!

  17. Seems to me that the “software switch” that led to the failure to get cosmic dust data should not have been done at the last second. Am I missing something here? This was the prime purpose of the mission. Introducing a possibility for mechanical error at the last second is usually a bad idea. Why not switch the software earlier?


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