Catching Our Breaths: Getting Ready For More

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

Hi everyone, Just got back from the DPS science meeting in Ithaca, NY (where lots of great Enceladus results from previous flybys were presented!).  It was a busy week but I got a chance to have a quick look at the new UVIS data from last week’s flyby. It looks good!!

Looks like we got some really good-quality data, and we’ll be able to say something about surface composition at the south pole, and potentially about variations in surface composition, as well as about the environment around Enceladus. I need to dig much deeper into the data though, before I say anything more!

Wow. I have to say, even though it’s pretty hectic to analyze new data while going to meetings and giving talks and writing papers (all at once)– and all the while preparing for the next flyby (Oct.31!) –it is so useful to have multiple flybys of Enceladus.  Enceladus is such a crazy and dynamic object, that it is incredibly vital to get multiple observations and flybys to be able to really find out what’s going on. Hearing some of the DPS talks on Enceladus made me feel like we’re just starting to get enough data to begin looking at trends and really get to know Enceladus. So it’s really getting exciting. So even though this flyby went very smoothly, we can’t get all the data we need to understand Enceladus on just one flyby! This is partly because Cassini is a complicated spacecraft and not all instruments can get data optimally at once, but also because Enceladus is so interesting and puzzling that many flybys are required to start to understand it.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Thanks for your support and interest!