Cassini Probe Tests Cameras
The Cassini orbiter, which is scheduled to rendezvous with Saturn in mid-2004, tested its imaging system during a 700-mile-high flyby of Earth in August. The Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations, based at the University of Arizona in Tucson, released frames and video clips of the Earth's moon that were taken with the craft's imaging system and noted that the photogenic images demonstrate that the cameras are operating perfectly. Another test is planned for late next year, when the space probe will pass Jupiter.
Cassini, which was produced in a joint project by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, will make a four-year study of the Saturn system, with emphasis on the solar system's largest moon, Titan. The imaging system comprises two 1024 x 1024-pixel, charge-coupled-device cameras that employ spectral filters to give them a total sensitivity of 200 nm to 1.1 µm -- a spectral region four times larger than those on the Voyager probes of the 1980s.
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