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The Official Saturn and Titan explorating thread - Page 2

post #41 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
Planetary Society/ESA Announce: Titan Art Contest

Best image(s) by Nov 28th win a trip to Germany to watch Huygens descent live at ESA control.

-snip-

Get your paints and pixels going, ladies and gentlemen of artistic bent.
It is remotely possible you might even get a bit of Titan named after you.

Winners Announced
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post #42 of 100
Thread Starter 
Huygens is on Titan!! Data playback in progress... first info later today.
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post #43 of 100
Thread Starter 
"A Fantastic Success... We are the first visitors to the surface of Titan."
- ESA chief at this morning's Huygens (First Science Data Recieved) Briefing

[that we know of]

"Huygens continued to send data, received here on Earth through ground stations, after Cassini had to end scheduled high-data rate reception to turn and relay science to us."

"All spacecraft housekeeping data in the stream looks normal."

I may be misinterpreting this early (more coffee on the way), but I took this to mean that the batteries lasted longer than expected, and effectively that we have more data from Huygens on the surface of Titan than we had bandwidth for.

Cassini was always due to have limited data take due to orbit planning, but the fact that Earth stations picked up the Huygens-to-Cassini carrier signal and our final limitation on new data is/was the shortage of "big ears" more than a billion miles away.

"Last spacecraft Carrier was at 1555GMT from a station in Australia... Radio telescopes around the world are being requested to try and track longer to extend the scientific doppler work and see how long Huygens survives"
- Huygens Principal Investigator Jean-Pierre ???

The first "Actual Science Results" briefing won't start for a few hours as they decompress the datastream and collect enough info to feed the world's media.


Landing on other worlds is cool.
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post #44 of 100
Thread Starter 
perhaps even more impressive... of the entire scheduled high-data rate relay,
not one packet was lost from B Channel...
the redundant A channel data is a bit unhappy
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post #45 of 100
Congratulations!

Anxiously awaiting data...
post #46 of 100
Huygens has landed on Titan. The communication has started between Cassini and earth.

Titan is the most enigmatic moon of the solar system.
In the next coming hours, we will see the first images and audio recording of this moon.

BBC link
post #47 of 100
AWESOME . . . unbelieveable!!!

landing succseffully on a planet/moon that far away is just mind boggling . . . . one of the biggest steps humanity has evertaken . . . .

now if we can just get our terrestrial act together . .
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post #48 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by pfflam
AWESOME . . . unbelieveable!!!

landing succseffully on a planet/moon that far away is just mind boggling . . . . one of the biggest steps humanity has evertaken . . . .

now if we can just get our terrestrial act together . .

Yes it's very exciting, and the scientific info collected may lead to great scientific discoveries.
post #49 of 100
This is such an awesome achievment, yet the regular news media is giving it little news. What a shmuck kulture we've become...

Hmm, what's Paris Hilton wearing today?
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post #50 of 100
Thread Starter 
Looks like the first Huygens Science Briefing is about to start on ESA/NASA TV

First pictures are a possibility, but early results suggest it landed on a solid surface, not liquid.
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post #51 of 100
Thread Starter 
ESA's Cassini-Huygens Home Page has linked clips from some of the earlier press events.

ESA/NASA TV are getting ready for the first true science briefing, potentially with pics.

Should we merge this into the general Saturn Exploration thread, Powerdoc?
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post #52 of 100
Thread Starter 
First images back are from the Descent Imager... they have 350 images...
showed two from more than 10km up... below the haze looking down.

claiming to see drainage features... pics aren't posted yet, and aren't processed to clean noise either...

should get clearer later
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post #53 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
ESA's Cassini-Huygens Home Page has linked clips from some of the earlier press events.

ESA/NASA TV are getting ready for the first true science briefing, potentially with pics.

Should we merge this into the general Saturn Exploration thread, Powerdoc?

Yes my bad. Perhaps I should do some thread's title editing too. Because today was the day
post #54 of 100
Ladies and Gents, Titan:



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post #55 of 100
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Titan Close-Up - Jan. 14, 2005
This raw image was returned by the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera onboard the European Space Agency's Huygens probe after the probe descended through the atmosphere of Titan. It shows the surface of Titan with ice blocks strewn around. The size and distance of the blocks will be determined when the image is properly processed.

Total size of the effective Huygens Data Set during primary relay via Cassini: 4h32m (end by Horizon)

- beyond expected battery life/'warranty' period

Data decompression & replay scheduled for 8 replay sessions to ensure error free decode.

Preliminary analysis suggest no packet loss on Channel B, good science...
primarily - atmospheric composition, charge, pressure, etc... at one second inhalations on the way to the surface.

Extended carrier wave detection from Earth Radio Telescopes as bonus doppler science not finalized.

More info at the 1/15 ESA Briefing
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post #56 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
"Last spacecraft Carrier was at 1555GMT from a station in Australia...

Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station. Just down the road from where I sit this very minute.

Love those channels. The lumps were "oh shit, it looks just like frickin' Mars" until it turns out they're ice.
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post #57 of 100
Thread Starter 
ESA brings you the microphone science on the way down through Titan's atmosphere...

Sounds of Titan

Titan Winds.mp3

Radar Descent.mp3

New composite image surface pictures in a panorama



Quote:
This composite was produced from images returned yesterday, January 14, 2005, by the European Space Agency's Huygens probe during its successful descent to land on Titan. It shows a full 360-degree view around Huygens. The left-hand side, behind Huygens, shows a boundary between light and dark areas. The white streaks seen near this boundary could be ground 'fog,' as they were not immediately visible from higher altitudes.

As the probe descended, it drifted over a plateau (center of image) and was heading towards its landing site in a dark area (right). From the drift of the probe, the wind speed has been estimated at around 6-7 kilometers (about 4 miles) per hour.

These images were taken from an altitude of about 8 kilometers ( about 5 miles) with a resolution of about 20 meters (about 65 feet) per pixel. The images were taken by the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, one of two NASA instruments on the probe.

and the processed, colour version of the surface of Titan seen yesterday.



Quote:
This image was returned yesterday, January 14, 2005, by the European Space Agency's Huygens probe during its successful descent to land on Titan. This is the colored view, following processing to add reflection spectra data, and gives a better indication of the actual color of the surface.

Initially thought to be rocks or ice blocks, they are more pebble-sized. The two rock-like objects just below the middle of the image are about 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) (left) and 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) (center) across respectively, at a distance of about 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) from Huygens. The surface is darker than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. There is also evidence of erosion at the base of these objects, indicating possible fluvial activity.

The image was taken with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, one of two NASA instruments on the probe.

Aside from the admission of a human error in failing to enable Cassini capture of the A data channel, it looks and sounds like a great success so far.
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post #58 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by pfflam
one of the biggest steps humanity has evertaken . . . .

i dunno.... i love space exploration, but when you take a step back and think about it, it's a huge waste of money. say that we discover some cool things and learn more about how Earth was formed. how does that help us? it's not like we need to worry about building our own planets. so what if we find out that the center of earth isnt magma like everyone pretends to know 'as a fact'? what the hell would that information do for us? you're right--nothing. studying dark matter and other things related to energy are important, but not taking pictures of a moon that would take us like 50 years to travel to.

ok i'm done ranting.
post #59 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by ipodandimac
i dunno.... i love space exploration, but when you take a step back and think about it, it's a huge waste of money. say that we discover some cool things and learn more about how Earth was formed. how does that help us? it's not like we need to worry about building our own planets. so what if we find out that the center of earth isnt magma like everyone pretends to know 'as a fact'? what the hell would that information do for us? you're right--nothing. studying dark matter and other things related to energy are important, but not taking pictures of a moon that would take us like 50 years to travel to.

ok i'm done ranting.

The day science decides that the only topics worth studying are those with a reasonable likelihood of generating "practical" results is the day it ceases to be science.
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post #60 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
The day science decides that the only topics worth studying are those with a reasonable likelihood of generating "practical" results is the day it ceases to be science.

fair enough, but i'd like my tax money back (the portion of it going to NASA).
post #61 of 100
NASA certainly spends a lot of money (16B), but not when compared to the overall expenditures of the US government. And while the money spent on NASA could arguably be put to better uses, Americans spend only about $60 dollars each year per citizen to cover this 16B. Depending on your bracket, you might get a decent something back if we didn't spend 16B each year on it, but the "real" money (and potential savings) really lie elsewhere within our gigantic and sprawling annual expenditures.
post #62 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by ipodandimac
fair enough, but i'd like my tax money back (the portion of it going to NASA).

No more GPS for you, or velcro, or centrifuged medicine, or ...
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post #63 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
No more GPS for you, or velcro, or centrifuged medicine, or ...

post #64 of 100
My $60/year give me endless hours of enjoyment looking a raw images from Mars and playing arm-chair geologist. Best money I ever spent.
post #65 of 100
whoa thats crazy i dont get the sound tho has anyone else listened to that? it just sounds like static. and we spent so much money and we were all excited about hugens and all that and all i see is a couple pictures of the ground?... please say theres more to come as far as under the atmosphere titan pictures...
post #66 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by Ferali
whoa thats crazy i dont get the sound tho has anyone else listened to that? it just sounds like static. and we spent so much money and we were all excited about hugens and all that and all i see is a couple pictures of the ground?... please say theres more to come as far as under the atmosphere titan pictures...

It will take them 10-15 years to pry all the interesting detail out of the data they're getting.

Believe me, these guys haven't been waiting 8 years for a few pictures of pebbles.
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post #67 of 100
The preliminary analysis demonstrated that there is a lot in common between earth and titan.

There is polycarbures, erosion, atmoshpere. Titan is like a frozen earth. A sort of earth 3 billions of years ago.
As amorph stated, the complete analysis of all the data will recquiere years.
post #68 of 100
Thread Starter 
Trogdor on Saturn



Quote:
The Dragon Storm
February 24, 2005
Full-Res: PIA06197


A large, bright and complex convective storm that appeared in Saturn's southern hemisphere in mid-September 2004 was the key in solving a long-standing mystery about the ringed planet.

Saturn's atmosphere and its rings are shown here in a false color composite made from Cassini images taken in near infrared light through filters that sense different amounts of methane gas. Portions of the atmosphere with a large abundance of methane above the clouds are red, indicating clouds that are deep in the atmosphere. Grey indicates high clouds, and brown indicates clouds at intermediate altitudes. The rings are bright blue because there is no methane gas between the ring particles and the camera.

The complex feature with arms and secondary extensions just above and to the right of center is called the Dragon Storm. It lies in a region of the southern hemisphere referred to as "storm alley" by imaging scientists because of the high level of storm activity observed there by Cassini in the last year.

The Dragon Storm was a powerful source of radio emissions during July and September of 2004. The radio waves from the storm resemble the short bursts of static generated by lightning on Earth. Cassini detected the bursts only when the storm was rising over the horizon on the night side of the planet as seen from the spacecraft; the bursts stopped when the storm moved into sunlight. This on/off pattern repeated for many Saturn rotations over a period of several weeks, and it was the clock-like repeatability that indicated the storm and the radio bursts are related. Scientists have concluded that the Dragon Storm is a giant thunderstorm whose precipitation generates electricity as it does on Earth. The storm may be deriving its energy from Saturn's deep atmosphere.

One mystery is why the radio bursts start while the Dragon Storm is below the horizon on the night side and end when the storm is on the day side, still in full view of the Cassini spacecraft. A possible explanation is that the lightning source lies to the east of the visible cloud, perhaps because it is deeper where the currents are eastward relative to those at cloud top levels. If this were the case, the lightning source would come up over the night side horizon and would sink down below the day side horizon before the visible cloud. This would explain the timing of the visible storm relative to the radio bursts.

The Dragon Storm is of great interest for another reason. In examining images taken of Saturn's atmosphere over many months, imaging scientists found that the Dragon Storm arose in the same part of Saturn's atmosphere that had earlier produced large bright convective storms. In other words, the Dragon Storm appears to be a long-lived storm deep in the atmosphere that periodically flares up to produce dramatic bright white plumes which subside over time. One earlier sighting, in July 2004, was also associated with strong radio bursts. And another, observed in March 2004 and captured in a movie created from images of the atmosphere (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06082 and http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06083) spawned three little dark oval storms that broke off from the arms of the main storm. Two of these subsequently merged with each other; the current to the north carried the third one off to the west, and Cassini lost track of it. Small dark storms like these generally get stretched out until they merge with the opposing currents to the north and south.

These little storms are the food that sustains the larger atmospheric features, including the larger ovals and the eastward and westward currents. If the little storms come from the giant thunderstorms, then together they form a food chain that harvests the energy of the deep atmosphere and helps maintain the powerful currents.

Cassini has many more chances to observe future flare-ups of the Dragon Storm, and others like it over the course of the mission. It is likely that scientists will come to solve the mystery of the radio bursts and observe storm creation and merging in the next 2 or 3 years.
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post #69 of 100
Thread Starter 
Just when you thought you'd seen the wobbly F ring wake well... < or F wing if you're elmer fudd >

Pandora's Flocks


Quote:
June 17, 2005\tFull-Res: PIA07523

The shepherd moon, Pandora, is seen here alongside the narrow F ring that it helps maintain. Pandora is 84 kilometers (52 miles) across.

Cassini obtained this view from about four degrees above the ringplane. Captured here are several faint, dusty ringlets in the vicinity of the F ring core. The ringlets do not appear to be perturbed to the degree seen in the core.

The appearance of Pandora here is exciting, as the moon's complete shape can be seen, thanks to reflected light from Saturn, which illuminates Pandora's dark side. The hint of a crater is visible on the dark side of the moon.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 4, 2005, at a distance of approximately 967,000 kilometers (601,000 miles) from Pandora and at a Sun-Pandora-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 117 degrees. The image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel.

Other releases of late include:
ring plane, F ring and volcano on Titan


Debating whether to start a Deep Impact thread...
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post #70 of 100
Start away...

Are you an astronomy junky?

I have a 10" Meade LX200 GPS I play with.
Hard-Core.
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post #71 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by talksense101
I have no grudge against your enthusiasm. But shouldn't we clean up our act on the one planet we live in before heading out to others? In the distant future, we might end up like locusts and leeches if we keep travelling from planet to planet just to consume it's resources.

What does that have to do with anything?
post #72 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
Unspecified caption yet, but this is the sunlit side...
looks like the F Ring and gap to A Ring just bulging into the center left edge.

It seems to me we can see the lit lower crescent of a moon inside and above the F Ring.


You can also clearly see perturbations or 'wake' in the F ring, perhaps due to the nearby moon (Prometheus?).

This image was taken with the Wide Angle camera at a resolution of about 7km per pixel.
Detailed shots of the F ring wake at 700m per pixel will be available soon.

Images and briefing to come this morning.

I dont know about you but to me it sure looks like there are a bunch of moving objects all over that background.
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post #73 of 100
Thread Starter 
And for a non-Cassini perspective for a change, Space.com offers Saturn in Visible and X-Ray


Quote:
Sparkling Saturn\t
\t\t
Saturn's rings light up with bright blue highlights, in this blend of both visual and X-ray observations.

Astronomers believe that fluorescence caused when solar X-rays smack into the oxygen molecules locked with in Saturns icy ring water.

As seen in this image, most of the X-rays among Saturns rings come from the B ring, the bright white, inner ring in the optical image of the planet.

There is some evidence for a concentration of X-rays on the morning side (left side, also called the East ansa) of the rings, possibly because X-rays are associated with optical features called spokes that are largely confined to the dense B ring and most often seen on the morning side.

Spokes are due to transient clouds of fine ice-dust particles that are lifted off the ring surface. It has been suggested that the spokes are triggered by meteoroid impacts, which are more likely in the midnight to early morning hours because during that period the relative speed of the rings through a cloud of meteoroids would be greater.

The higher X-ray brightness on the morning side of the rings could be due to the additional solar fluorescence from the transient ice clouds that produce the spokes. This explanation may also account for other Chandra observations of Saturn, which show that the X-ray brightness of the rings varies significantly from one week to the next.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

They have previously reported on puzzling results from science in these bands and compared Chandra and HST


Quote:
Chandra's image of Saturn held some surprises for the observers. First, Saturn's 90 megawatts of X-radiation is concentrated near the equator. This is different from a similar gaseous giant planet, Jupiter, where the most intense X-rays are associated with the strong magnetic field near its poles.
Credit: X-ray: NASA/U. Hamburg/J.Ness et al; Optical: NASA/STScI
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post #74 of 100
Thread Starter 
Hot on the heels of the recent Top 10 Cassini Science Highlights,

check out the latest spooky Sounds of Saturn

click for 127kb WAV file
Quote:
Saturn's radio emissions could be mistaken for a Halloween sound track. That's how two researchers describe their recent findings, published in the July 23 issue of the Geophysical Research Letters. Their paper is based on data from the Cassini spacecraft radio and plasma wave science instrument. The study investigates sounds that are not just eerie, but also descriptive of a phenomenon similar to Earth's northern lights.

"All of the structures we observe in Saturn's radio spectrum are giving us clues about what might be going on in the source of the radio emissions above Saturn's auroras," said Dr. Bill Kurth, deputy principal investigator for the instrument. He is with the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Kurth made the discovery along with Principal Investigator Don Gurnett, a professor at the University. "We believe that the changing frequencies are related to tiny radio sources moving up and down along Saturn's magnetic field lines."

Samples of the resulting sounds can be heard at www.nasa.gov/cassini , http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/cassini/ .

The radio emissions, called Saturn kilometric radiation, are generated along with Saturn's auroras, or northern and southern lights. Because the Cassini instrument has higher resolution compared to a similar instrument on NASA's Voyager spacecraft, it has provided more detailed information on the spectrum and the variability of radio emissions. The high-resolution measurements allow scientists to convert the radio waves into audio recordings by shifting the frequencies down into the audio frequency range.

The terrestrial cousins of Saturn's radio emissions were first reported in 1979 by Gurnett, who used an instrument on the International Sun-Earth Explorer spacecraft in Earth orbit. Kurth said that despite their best efforts, scientists still haven't agreed on a theory to fully explain the phenomenon. They will get another chance to solve the radio emission puzzle beginning in mid-2008 when Cassini will fly close to, or possibly even through, the source region at Saturn. Gurnett said, "It is amazing that the radio emissions from Earth and Saturn sound so similar." Other contributors to the paper include University of Iowa scientists George Hospodarsky and Baptiste Cecconi; Mike Kaiser (currently at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.); French scientists Philippe Louarn, Philippe Zarka and Alain Lecacheux; and Austrian scientists Helmut Rucker and Mohammed Boudjada. Cassini, carrying 12 scientific instruments, on June 30, 2004, became the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn. It is conducting a four-year study of the planet, its rings and many moons. The spacecraft carried the Huygens probe, a six-instrument European Space Agency probe that landed on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, in January 2005.
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post #75 of 100
Thread Starter 
Spongy and Lavalike moons and more

Hyperion

Click pic above for links to QT movie of Hyperion flyby.

Quote:
Cassini performed back-to-back flybys of Saturn moons Tethys and Hyperion last weekend, coming closer than ever before to each of them. Tethys has a scarred, ancient surface, while Hyperion is a strange, spongy-looking body with dark-floored craters that speckle its surface.

Click for news of 'doubleheader' flyby.


False colour close-up of Tethys. Click for details

Quote:
This view is among the closest Cassini images of Tethys' icy surface taken during the Sept. 24, 2005 flyby.
This false-color image, created with infrared, green and ultraviolet frames, reveals a wide variety of surface colors across this terrain. The presence of this variety at such small scales may indicate a mixture of different surface materials. Tethys was previously known to have color differences on its surface, especially on its trailing side, but this kind of color diversity is new to imaging scientists. For a clear-filter view of this terrain, see PIA07736.
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post #76 of 100
You're really into this space stuff huh?
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post #77 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself
You're really into this space stuff huh?

It's like a new world every day...
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post #78 of 100
In some cases, it really is.

I mean, they keep finding more and more little moonlets. What's next, Charon finds out it has two little siblings?
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post #79 of 100
Maybe a topic for a new thread.... but while space gives some people that sense of 'wonder'.. it depresses me..

One more plant, one more place you'll never see. And the kicker is.. none of this is new.. it's all been there long before we existed... and will continue to exist long after we are gone. So what if we see it?

It's like sensation 'freaks'. They live for the feeling of being alive. This seems almost the same. If the thrill is in the seeing.. does it really matter if you've seen a lot or seen a little? Because in the end.. you still dye...

So while we look to space for answers about who we are.. why we are here.. who or what else is 'out there'... I look inside and say what does all that abstract 'hypothesis' really matter? Most people struggle their whole lives just trying to figure out who *they themselves* are...

I dunno.. maybe I need prozac or something... (yeah yeah.. or something)
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post #80 of 100
By that reasoning, we should all have just stayed in the trees.
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