Mariner 10 Spacecraft

The components on Mariner 10 can be categorized into four groups based on their common function. The solar panels, power subsystem, attitude control subsystem, and computer kept the spacecraft operating properly during the flight. The navigational system, including the hydrazine rocket, would keep Mariner 10 on track to Venus and Mercury. Several scientific instruments would collect data at the two planets. Finally, the antennas would transmit this data to the Deep Space Network back on Earth, as well as receive commands from Mission Control. Mariner 10’s various components and scientific instruments were attached to a central hub, which was roughly the shape of an octagonal prism. The hub stored the spacecraft’s internal electronics. The Mariner 10 spacecraft was manufactured by Boeing. NASA set a strict limit of $98 million for Mariner 10’s total cost, which marked the first time the agency subjected a mission to an inflexible budget constraint. No overruns would be tolerated, so mission planners carefully considered cost efficiency when designing the spacecraft’s instruments. Cost control was primarily accomplished by executing contract work closer to the launch date than was recommended by normal mission schedules, as reducing the length of available work time increased cost efficiency. Despite the rushed schedule, very few deadlines were missed. The mission ended up about $1 million under budget.

The "Dagwood Sandwich" Moon. Earlier models of Ganymede's oceans were based on the assumption that the existence of salt didn't change the nature of liquid very much with pressure. However, Dr. Vance and his colleagues found, through laboratory experiments, that salt does increase the density of liquids under the extreme conditions hidden deep within Ganymede and similar icy moons with subsurface bodies of water. Imagine adding table salt to a glass of water. Instead of increasing in volume, the liquid will actually shrink and become denser. The reason for this is that salt ions lure water molecules. Dr. Porco believes that the icy moon, with its underground liquid sea of water, organics, as well as an energy source, may potentially host life similar to that found in analogous environments on Earth. The March 2012 images of Cassini's "tiger stripes" revealed that these cracks widen and narrow, as was suspected from pictures taken previously. The fissures also change over time more frequently than was originally thought. The two opposite sides of the fissures move laterally relative to one another. This is analogous to the way two banks of the San Andreas Fault can move forward and back, as well as in opposite directions. The greatest slipping and sliding happens when Enceladus is closest to Saturn--as scientists expected. Despite this oddball moon's many exotic attributes, it actually sports one of the most Earth-like surfaces in our Solar System. Titan may also experience volcanic activity, but its volcanoes would erupt with different ingredients than the molten-rock lava that shoots out from the volcanoes of Earth. In dramatic contrast to what occurs on our own planet, Titan's volcanoes erupt icy water "lava" (cryovolcanism). Titan's entire alien surface has been sculpted by gushing methane and ethane, which carves river channels, and fills its enormous great lakes with liquid natural gas.