Cassini Mission Ends With Dives Through Saturn Rings

Posted: Nov 26 2016, 6:04am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Cassini Mission Ends With Dives Through Saturn Rings
Saturn's rings were named alphabetically in the order they were discovered. The narrow F ring marks the outer boundary of the main ring system. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
  • NASA's Cassini Starts Daring Dives through Saturn Rings

Cassini is going to dive the outer edge rings of Saturn from Nov. 30 to April 22.

According to news from NASA, a great event is going to happen from Nov. 30 to April 22 when Cassini will dive through Saturn rings. This dive would happen 20 times, once in a week.

These are considered daring dives according to NASA scientists. The entrance of spacecraft in such unchartered area would let it see Saturn, and different moons closely.

New videos of this mission are also released by NASA, who has named the event as Cassini's Ring-Grazing Orbits. The name is so, because outer edge rings of Saturn are targeted this time as described by Linda Spilker who is NASA Scientist at JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

The scientist also said in her statement that, the mission will also include instruments to get sample particles as well as gases after the spacecraft crosses ring plane. The statement shows that, Cassini would also be grazing.

Cassini has always been doing amazing things, and this mission is one of them. In its process of 12 years in Saturn, Cassini has set a lander on moon Titan, and discovered different places, including, underground ocean on Enceladus, satellite's methane seas, and giant hexagonal jet stream.

Cassini also found a variety of new moons near Saturn. First time in 1997, Cassini went to Saturn passing Venus two times,then earth, and then Jupiter to gather some speed before touching rings’ system in 2004, according to

Cassini will first pass through outer ring around some orbits, and then will proceed to Fring of Saturn, which is the main boundary of entire ring system.

F ring is narrow compared to other rings, and its width is 500 miles. F ring is constantly changing filaments, streamers, and channels which change after every few hours as declared by NASA researchers.

According to Earl Maize a project manager at JPL, though Cassini would be near Saturn rings, but still the distance would be 7,800 km. The spacecraft will explore different moons, including Daphnis, Pandora, Pan, and Atlas. It will also have deep scanning of rings.

Now in its final year of operations, on Nov. 30, 2016, NASA’s Cassini mission will begin a daring set of ring-grazing orbits, skimming past the outside edge of Saturn's main rings. Cassini will fly closer to Saturn’s rings than it has since its 2004 arrival. It will begin the closest study of the rings and offer unprecedented views of moons that orbit near them. Even more dramatic orbits ahead will bring Cassini closer to Saturn than any spacecraft has dared to go before.

This mission will end in April, and after that Cassini will start grand finale with 22 deep dives between Saturn rings. Then, on Sep 15 it will enter planet’s atmosphere.

During the entire journey, researchers will observe whole mission to find how close Cassini should make its final dive. The final dive will cover several discoveries, including gravity, atmosphere and composition of the planet.

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