A RHEALIFE: An Explorer’s Journal – PartII


This blog-post is from my dream/wish series. I acknowledge there is more imagination here than science and technology, but then dreams have always inspired the sciences haven’t they?

Cassini Spacecraft Orbiting Saturn - Credit NASA

The Cassini legacy: I cannot begin to tell you how many years I have dreamed of an opportunity like this. I also cannot begin to tell you how excited, actually ecstatic, I was when I finally knew I would get to come to Rhea. The incredible research, development and preparation that went into this program humbles me, because right now I am the only one here. All research and reporting depends upon me. I often wonder if I am as good as the great spacecraft Cassini was. Actually, I am here because of what Cassini helped all of us discover.

This part of my journal is pretty techie, but I give you the option of deciding how much detail you want by providing links to those details. Additionally many of those links will contain links to even more details; a data drill-down opportunity.

Super Shuttle Despite a dreadful period of poor financial support for space exploration programs in the early (2010-2015) years of this century, concept designs for space exploration vehicles progressed. Out of this came, what I have always referred to as the “super-shuttle”. This is a virtual space-truck that successfully transports astronauts and various equipment to the Moon, some asteroids, Mars and finally Saturn and its moons. In this regard, back in 2010, I made an early prediction of what the super-shuttle would be like. You may click here to review that article.

This super shuttle is a totally committed space vehicle, by this I mean it has never touched land on any planetary body. It is fully assembled and tested in a low earth orbit or L2-L4 space environment and plies the solar system as the main service support spacecraft for an international consortium of space-faring nations. You may visit here to get more details about this spacecraft.

To place me here on Rhea it took two shuttles to carry all the equipment and supplies needed for my extended stay. You will see why when you read about setting up the research station.  The consortium officially named the station, StationRhea.

Setting up StationRhea:Because no one has been on Rhea before, there are many unknowns as well as the known environmental challenges of this moon. With a gravity factor that is approximately 1/3 that of Earth’s Luna poses major operational and atmospheric problems. For all practical purposes Rhea has no atmosphere despite Cassini’s discovery of the presence of both oxygen and carbon dioxide. If you wish, you may go here to check, again, the comparison between Rhea and Luna.

As I mention above, it took two visits to Rhea to establish StationRhea. This is made clear when you select the preceding StationRhea link . I did it this way to keep this narrative (journal) manageable in size. Additionally the StationRhea document also has links to supportive data. You will need to exit each window to safely return here to this document.  Additionally, about the time I finish up Part III of this journal, a new Cassini II will have made a fly by and photographed StationRhea. I will post a copy of that image in Part III.

Experiencing the Saturn System: At this point I would like for you to get to know more about Saturn and her moons, and especially Rhea. The following link will take you to an interactive media display that will let you get the feel for where I am.  This display was created by NASA/JPL when Cassini was still continuing its visit to the Saturn system. When you open the link, please select the Launch Cassie button to start the interactive display.  When Cassie starts, I suggest that you first just observe the orbits of Saturn’s inner moons and see Rhea’s and how it relates to the others and her relative distance from Saturn. I urge you to continue watching the orbits until you get to see both Titan and Iapetus’s orbits. Lastly, if you watch long enough, you will see Cassini make one of its passes. Here is the link to get started.

Conclusion Part II: I know navigating this part of my journal has probably been tedious, I apologize, but I hope you did visit all or most of the links. Getting here has been an enormous effort by so many people and so much creative breakthroughs. Please take your time visiting all the links to begin to see the extent of those efforts.  Yes, this , as I said in Part I, is an imaginary journey, but it is intended to imply the possible future. We will make these types of explorations and with each one we will learn more about who we are and how we got here. In achieving that knowledge we will take giant steps in our evolution, and in evolving we move closer to who we are meant to be.

In A RHEALIFE Part III I will present many of the research results about Rhea. I will also discuss the mental and emotional effects of being the only astro-researcher on a remote planetary body, and how that may bear upon the accuracy and completeness of my observations and reports.


Image of Cassini and Saturn: Artist concept courtesy of NASA/JPL

New Header Image: An artistic manipulation of an astrophotograph of the Crab Nebula. Original and artwork by Waddell Robey (c) 2010

Explore posts in the same categories: Deep Space Explorations, Humankind and Exploration, Super-shuttle space-station

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2 Comments on “A RHEALIFE: An Explorer’s Journal – PartII”

  1. XiNeutrino Says:

    For those who might wish to extend their imagination into even deeper space you might visit Starship Voyager here > http://www.drivehq.com/folder/p7992325.aspx

  2. See that electrostatic radiation shielding I depended upon on RHEA was given priority by NASA back in the early 21st Century. http://tinyurl.com/4negvco

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