Author Topic: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?  (Read 4391 times)

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7730
  • Liked: 323
Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« on: 11/15/2012 01:47 PM »
There's a rumor going around that the initial OMB budget proposal (which goes to NASA, then back to OMB to become the final administration budget) calls for shutting down both Cassini and MESSENGER to save money.

No more details than that. But we may be seeing a repeat of what happened with the Apollo seismic instruments when budget cuts are ending ongoing data collection.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6580
  • Liked: 204
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #1 on: 11/15/2012 02:11 PM »
How much will that reduce the deficit by again? Shaking a head...
Are trampolines safe?

Offline hektor

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1184
  • Liked: 1
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #2 on: 11/15/2012 02:14 PM »
I think you cannot just shut down Cassini. As with Galileo, you need to conduct operations to destroy it safely.

Offline GClark

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 226
  • Liked: 2
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #3 on: 11/15/2012 04:30 PM »
Maybe OMB knows something about the Planetary Sciences Senior Review that (the existential) we do not.

Have they ever put the results of that out?

Online Ben the Space Brit

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5817
  • Liked: 98
  • A spaceflight fan
  • London, UK
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #4 on: 11/15/2012 04:51 PM »
That would be tragic, short-sighted and entirely in line with modern government priorities.
"Oops! I left the silly thing in reverse!" - Duck Dodgers

~*~*~*~

The Space Shuttle Program - 1981-2011

The time for words has passed; The time has come to put up or shut up!
DON'T PROPAGANDISE, FLY!!!

Offline Pheogh

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
  • Liked: 0
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #5 on: 11/15/2012 04:57 PM »
Is there anyway these can be taken more international. Certainly there would be interest from other governments in supporting these priceless assets?

Offline ugordan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6182
  • Liked: 135
    • My mainly Cassini image gallery
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #6 on: 11/15/2012 05:04 PM »
That would be tragic, short-sighted and entirely in line with modern government priorities.

I agree. This would be tragic, moreso for Cassini (then again, I am more emotionally attached to it).

Is there anyway these can be taken more international.

Cassini already is an international project and that fact actually saved it from cancellation once. Not sure how it would help this time as probably the majority of the operations money is provided by NASA.

Online Joffan

  • NSF Irregular
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 960
  • Liked: 69
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #7 on: 11/15/2012 06:08 PM »
Once spacecraft are at their destination, there is never a good reason to abandon them as long as they're working. Getting explorers like Cassini and Messenger to their destination is way more expensive than operating them, but the operations is where the science return happens.

Perhaps one day, far in the future, we will have a spacecraft that is working but completely superceded by other spacecraft in place. Then it will make sense to turn off operations; but not before.
When I say "Jump!", you say "To which orbital inclination?"

Offline Pheogh

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
  • Liked: 0
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #8 on: 11/15/2012 06:28 PM »
That would be tragic, short-sighted and entirely in line with modern government priorities.

I agree. This would be tragic, moreso for Cassini (then again, I am more emotionally attached to it).

Is there anyway these can be taken more international.

Cassini already is an international project and that fact actually saved it from cancellation once. Not sure how it would help this time as probably the majority of the operations money is provided by NASA.

what are we talking about here $$$ what kind of money. If Santa Claus were to offer ESA a healthy space probe around Saturn right now, am I to understand they couldn't come up with the money to use it?


Offline ugordan

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6182
  • Liked: 135
    • My mainly Cassini image gallery
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #9 on: 11/15/2012 06:33 PM »
what are we talking about here $$$ what kind of money.

Don't know about an exact number, but it's in the millions per year of operations cost. It's a complex spacecraft and many people are involved.

Quote
If Santa Claus were to offer ESA a healthy space probe around Saturn right now, am I to understand they couldn't come up with the money to use it?

Not sure that's even doable as it's a JPL spacecraft.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22744
  • Liked: 1343
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #10 on: 11/15/2012 06:46 PM »
what are we talking about here $$$ what kind of money. If Santa Claus were to offer ESA a healthy space probe around Saturn right now, am I to understand they couldn't come up with the money to use it?



JPL would still be required to operate it.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 18127
  • Liked: 1035
  • Minnesota
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #11 on: 11/15/2012 06:52 PM »
There's a rumor going around that the initial OMB budget proposal (which goes to NASA, then back to OMB to become the final administration budget) calls for shutting down both Cassini and MESSENGER to save money.

No more details than that. But we may be seeing a repeat of what happened with the Apollo seismic instruments when budget cuts are ending ongoing data collection.
Dumb dumb da-dumb dumb.

This sounds incredibly short-sighted. We have a big, perfectly good spacecraft that spent a heck of a long time getting to its destination, and we can't afford to pay someone to plan its operations and talk to it?

I know operating it can't be that simple, but seriously... How much would it cost, if spread out over a single full-time lead and some grad-students (work for practically minimum wage) and a small amount of DSN (or, heck, ESTRACK) bandwidth?

I just don't understand why we ever turn these guys off when their instruments are still returning useful data and the tanks still have plenty of propellant in them. It costs billions of dollars to send these guys out there and decades to get from conception to arrival at the target. We have no other presence at Saturn, an incredibly diverse and fascinating system that we are still learning new things about all the time.

Heck, amateur reception of Cassini's signals has been demonstrated: http://www.qsl.net/ct1dmk/dsn.html (Even some signal from Voyager 1 was detected...)

http://www.ke5fx.com/hpll.htm
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22744
  • Liked: 1343
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #12 on: 11/15/2012 07:33 PM »
How much would it cost, if spread out over a single full-time lead and some grad-students (work for practically minimum wage) and a small amount of DSN (or, heck, ESTRACK) bandwidth?


1.  This is not a rover.  Grad students don't have the experience to manage flight operations or understand the vehicle systems.

2.  Why bother if there isn't going be bandwith to downlink the data.

Offline Robotbeat

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 18127
  • Liked: 1035
  • Minnesota
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #13 on: 11/15/2012 08:06 PM »
How much would it cost, if spread out over a single full-time lead and some grad-students (work for practically minimum wage) and a small amount of DSN (or, heck, ESTRACK) bandwidth?


1.  This is not a rover.  Grad students don't have the experience to manage flight operations or understand the vehicle systems.

2.  Why bother if there isn't going be bandwith to downlink the data.
1) Granted. But how much needs to be understood?
2) Cut it down to one-tenth or one-twentieth, and the amount of science that can be done isn't reduced proportionally. If it is reduced, it's probably more logarithmically. You may get only one third or one fourth as much useful scientific results from 10% or 5% as much data, but at far less cost.
« Last Edit: 11/15/2012 08:06 PM by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline woods170

  • IRAS fan
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4245
  • Liked: 288
  • IRAS fan
  • The Netherlands
Re: Cassini and MESSENGER to be shut down?
« Reply #14 on: 11/15/2012 08:10 PM »
That would be tragic, short-sighted and entirely in line with modern government priorities.
Not just modern government priorities. Back in 1976 the operation of the first Dutch satellite ANS was prematurely shut down for the very same reason: To save a few lousy bucks. This despite the satellite being in perfect working order.

Tags: