(From comment on "Titans Alien Thunder")
This is going to be a fascinating event - however I do have some questions.. The total mission cost is around $4 billion - is this good value for money? For example look at New Horizons, a Jupier/Pluto/KBO mission with a total projected cost of $600 million. I also wonder, given the scale of the mission, if a RTG should have been put on board Huygens so that it could stay longer and observe the Titan environment over a longer time? (Yes I know it could only relay data when Cassini passes by, but that could still be useful..) Listening to thunderstorms is all well and good, and adding a mic is worth doing because its a cheap thing to do in sucha system, but what about a lander that spends more time there looking at the chemistry of Titan?
I think that the smaller, cheaper missions return much better scientific return for the money. For instance, most of the function of the proposed $10 billion JIMO mission could be done by a cheaper Europa-only orbiter that would cost less than $1 billion. (See: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/hubble-04p.html ) Also take a look at the SMART-1 ESA mission - less than $100 million for a complete mission featuring many new technologies.
For example the camera on the $4 billion Cassini mission is only 1 megapixel - if we had a larger number of smaller, cheaper missions, would we be there now with a much better imaging system. Cassini had a much delayed launch, so the design was outdated by the time of its launch in 1997. The same mission launched on a later window could have used ion propulsion (SEP/RTG combo) saving weight (1/2 the 4 tons Cassini weight is fuel)
The same thing could happen with JIMO - if NASA spend $10 billion on that, they could forego many other missions, such as a New Horizons II mission, which would give us a chance to look at Uranus (not always a good word to say on Slashdot) with modern instruments, as well as Jupiter & some more KBO's..
Also think about Hubble - is it worth spending $2 billion on a robot to repair the aging telescope, when the same money could buy better new space telescopes.. (see link above)
I dont want to belittle the work of the scientist working on Cassini - it will be a fascinating mission, I just wonder if we could get more return by rejigging the beurocracy.. The X-Prize, New Horizons and SMART-1 prove that more smaller & competitive missions return much more bang-per-buck..