To Open The Sky
The Front Pages of Christopher P. Winter
The Cassini Mission to Saturn
A personal view
To probe furtherJump down to books list
(Checked 12 February 2003)
JPL has a very complete set of Web pages covering the Cassini mission, the orbiter, the Titan booster, the RTGs, and a detailed engineering description of the Huygens probe.
Scientists in the United Kingdom have a somewhat similar page.
Here's JPL's page for the flyby of Jupiter, completed at the end of 2000:
The good folks at the Lunar and Planetary Lab are handling Cassini's imaging program.
Dr. Lance Erickson of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Directed a class project on the Cassini mission and spacecraft hardware
More information on the Huygens probe and the science it will obtain is available from an ESA site in the Netherlands:
Some experts at Lawrence Livermore Labs have made available a paper about the medical effects of plutonium:
Background data on cancer mortality rates can be pulled out of the World Health Organization database:
Finally, Spaceviews has probably the most complete collection of links both pro- and anti-RTG:
The opposition has Web sites too. There once were dozens, in fact. Many have gone. Without evaluating their contents, I'll provide a few URLs:
A site put together by Russell D. Hoffman. It contains a lot of material, including copies of several NASA documents.
The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, perhaps the major opponent of Cassini and all things nuclear (except the nuclear family), is of course still active. See these sites:
Perhaps the most prominent scientist to oppose Cassini is theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. Here is a transcription of a paper he has written:
Two new books from Britain describe the Cassini-Huygens mission. I haven't read them, but I know David Harland's work is well regarded. Ralph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton are associated with the University of Arizona, a center of planetary science.
One of the best popular books about NASA's planetary science program is Pale Blue Dot, by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. Unfortunately, Galileo and Cassini are too recent to be included; however, the coverage of Voyager is excellent.
NASA's Science and Technical Information Branch has produced a host of books on its various programs. GALILEO: Exploration of Jupiter's System offers a close look at the science from that spacecraft, and probably includes some engineering details as well.
If you want to dig into the history and politics of this program, I recommend JPL and the American Space Program by Clayton R. Koppes, Assistant Professor of History at Oberlin College. Although somewhat dated (it was published about the time Cassini was born), the book is well researched and will give a good picture of the organizational relationships and prominent personalities in the space program. The book is part of Yale's Planetary Exploration series.
For a view of the European side of things, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN SPACE: The Example of the European Space Agency looks like a good reference.
Engineering design of RTGs as well as reactors is covered by many books. An excellent place to start is Space Nuclear Power by Angelo and Buden. It provides a wealth of technical detail on the American RTG designs produced over the years, up through the GPHS design used on Galileo and Cassini. It also covers the various types of nuclear reactors and related issues such as shielding. Angelo served many years with the Department of Energy, producers of the GPHS, and he knows whereof he speaks.
Incidentally, a lot of the Orbit books are coming out in new editions. It might be worthwhile to check with the publisher -- which is now Krieger Publishing, located in Melbourne, Florida.
A study of the radioactive background that surrounds us all, and forms the context for any possible impact of Cassini and its plutonium:
A reference for the effects of radiation on human health: