Published: Вс, Апреля 23, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

Last adventure ahead for NASA's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn

Last adventure ahead for NASA's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn

"Between now and September, there will be a ton of new science on what's inside Saturn, how much the rings weigh, and awesome detail on rings, ring-moons and atmosphere - all made possible by these tight, "proximal" orbits". It's treacherous territory. Even a speck from the rings could cripple Cassini, given its velocity.

Cassini will make its first pass through the relatively narrow gap Wednesday.

Twenty years after it was launched, the Cassini mission to Saturn will come to a spectacular end this September in what is being dubbed the "Cassini Grand Finale".

The Nasa probe, which has been investigating Saturn and its moons since 2004, captured the extraordinary photo on April 12 at a distance of 870 million miles from Earth.

After decades in space and a journey of more than 4.1 billion miles, NASA's Cassini orbiter is set for its grand finale.

Data from the spacecraft will be beamed back in real time to scientists of Earth as it dives 22 times on its descent - finally ending on September 15. "These results demonstrate the interconnected nature of NASA's science missions that are getting us closer to answering whether we are indeed alone or not".

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The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency.

She will discuss Cassini's history of discoveries and the mysteries that could yet be revealed, such as what really lies beneath the cloud tops and how long is a day on Saturn.

Scientists anticipate lots of lightweight impacts, since the spacecraft will be going through extremely small material, more like smoke than distinct particles. The Encke gap - also within Saturn's A ring - is visible in the upper right of the photo.

During its flyby, which would be Cassini's 127th targeted encounter with Titan, the spacecraft will also look for changes in Titan's methane lakes and seas and study the depth and composition of its smaller lakes.

Cassini will have the best views ever of Saturn's poles, as it skims its surface. The team at NASA are keen to take a closer look, 'We don't understand what the structures would be and there maybe no way for us to tell remotely, until we actually get into these oceans, ' said Dr Voytek. It made us freer and bigger by showing how little we know and how much more room there is to expand our thoughts and dreams.

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