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OFJ Field Journal from Glenn Orton - 10/18/95

A subdued celebration of the 6th anniversary of Galileo's launch. News is that we'll know by Friday whether certain tests were positive for hardware failure, but if they were negative, we still may not know whether the problem is hardware or software related. I have to decide whether to re-submit my Palomar time proposal with more than just the 3 days per encounter (for early July to support the first encounter and early September to support the second encounter) to five or more; I want to cover the time, and the value of ground-based support is infinitely higher if we have no operating DMS on the spacecraft.

I began to work on an insidious problem, trying to match the computer results of my colleagues, (Drs.) Larry Sromovsky and Andrew Collard at the University of Wisconsin, in simulating the results of the Probe Net Flux Radiometer. I'm down now to nuts and bolts of the program to see where the differences lie.

I also began to work on reworking simulations of the atmospheric structure which I worked on last in 1979. This was hard, and I didn't succeed in replicating the results; I couldn't find all the 1979 software, so I used the current versions of the software. I succeeded in reproducing the pressure-temperature curve, but I think that I'm having the same difficulty in replicating the altitude scale as (Dr.) Al Seiff (NASA Ames Research Center) did when he asked me to look them over again. The original difference is now most probably lost to history, but the Probe engineers designed to the specification of those models. So, it's more than just a little disconcerting to me. Still, the altitude scale is just off by about 4%. It reminds me that I probably want to update the model with a whole lot more recent information.

Email from (Dr.) Bob Joseph, the director of the IRTF. He's heard rumors that the Galileo tape has failed and asks what the IRTF can do to help. I want to print it out and frame it, God bless him. So now we're brainstorming on what we can do more than what we're doing now. Can we "stop down" the mirror by placing an opaque annulus which covers the outer area of the telescope where the sun will be shining on the primary and work (very carefully!) with the shorter wavelengths with NSFCAM? Can we use the off-axis CCD guide camera and get images, with similar "stopping down"? Do we want to try to use the near-infrared spectrometers (a crude spectral capability of NSFCAM or higher-resolution capabilities for another IRTF facility, CSHELL) in the 5-micron region which would work OK with the polypropylene cover? Ditto with the riskier opaque annulus, with much less noise?



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