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Spacecraft recovers after being zapped

In Brief

September 15, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The international Cassini spacecraft went into safe mode this week after passing a Saturn moon that was the mysterious destination of an astronaut in Arthur C. Clarke's novel "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Cassini flew within 1,000 miles of Iapetus on Monday and snapped images of its rugged, two-tone surface. As it was sending data to Earth, it was hit by a cosmic ray that tripped a power switch. It was not damaged but had to turn off its instruments and relay only limited data. Controllers sent commands for Cassini to resume normal transmission, and scientists recovered all data despite a nearly 12-hour delay. The craft was expected to be fully functional this weekend.

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