Cassini’s final science

The Cassini space craft has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004 and has exceed its main mission with two extensions. As it runs out of fuel it is placed on a orbit to take it closer to the moons and rings than ever before. In September 2017 it will eventually plunge into the Saturnian atmosphere leaving behind over a decade of discoveries and two decades in space.

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Cassini’s orbit will set from April – September 2017 to align it up for the finale. Yet take just weeks before this we can see some of the detail in the rings. Below is the A ring (left) which shows some of the orbital resonances ring particles experience from nearby moons (spiral density waves). To the right a narrow kinked ringlet can be seen, created by the interactions of a small moon. Over the next few months we will get to see the rings in greater detail than ever. The most exciting science from Cassini might be still to come.

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One comment

  1. […] The Cassini spacecraft has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004. The unprecedented detail of over a decade’s worth of observations of Saturn, its rings and many moons has helped us further understand our Solar System. With Saturn being placed onto a direct collision with Saturn in the later part of 2017 we are expecting the most exciting science to come from these more risky manoeuvres. We will recap some of the most important and exciting discoveries that Cassini has made over the following decade along with its very last contributions to science. […]

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