The Cassini Science Planning Team balances the engineering constraints of an orbiting spacecraft with the scientific objectives of the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Members of this team are expected to be knowledgeable of both aerospace engineering concepts and Saturn science, and have the necessary computer skills to support tasks in these areas.
In support of engineering and execution, the planners must be knowledgeable of the telemetry modes for data collection and transmission and OpModes to balance the power distributed between instruments. Once these resources are allocated and the science observations are determined, the planners must report the results to the Project Scientist and the general public. This is accomplished through the Science Highlights that are daily descriptions of the main instrument activities on board Cassini.
To become more knowledgeable of Saturn science, research of propeller structures will be performed. Propellers are features that form around small moonlets embedded within Saturn's A ring. Since these features are very small (40-50 m in diameter), special imaging software from Dr. Jeffrey Cuzzi (NASA-Ames) will be used to enhance files downloaded from the PDS (Planetary Data System). The first objective of analysis will be to confirm location of known propellers. The second objective is to search for unidentified propellers. This work is being done in conjunction with Dr. Matthew Tiscareno at Cornell University.
CURE student tasks: Computer skills necessary to support the above tasks include UNIX operating system, EMACS text editor, IDL programming language, HTML language of the web, and XML as language chosen for Cassini database upload.
CURE interns:Christen Gerhart, Summer 2009 - Summer 2010
C. Gerhart, Presentation at the JPL Seminar Days 2010