NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ready to probe Saturn’s rings

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ready to probe Saturn’s rings

American space agency’s Cassini spacecraft will start a series of daring dives through Saturn’s rings on Nov. 30, 2016, moving a step closer to its planned death plunge into the gaseous planet’s atmosphere in September next year.

From Nov. 30 to Apr. 22, the Cassini spacecraft will dive through the outer edge of the planet’s rings at least 20 times, once per week. The dives will allow it to capture the closer images of the planet’s outer rings as well as its moons.

The probe will pass through a faint outer ring for a few orbits before probing the outer boundaries of the planet’s F ring that marks the boundary of the main ring system. The F ring is nearly 500 miles wide and features continually changing filaments, streamers and dark channels which change over the course of hours.

Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker said, “We’re calling this phase of the mission Cassini's Ring-Grazing Orbits, because we'll be skimming past the outer edge of the rings. In addition, we have two instruments that can sample particles and gases as we cross the ring plane, so in a sense, Cassini is also 'grazing' on the rings.”

Project managers have plans to use the probe’s smaller thrusters to maneuver it into its Grand Finale orbit, which will bring it a little over one thousand miles within the planet’s cloud-top surface every six days.

Cassini’s long mission will come to its end on Sept. 15th, 2017, when it will perform a death plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere. The probe’s suicidal dive will provide scientists with an unprecedented view of the gas giant’s atmosphere, composition and gravity.


User login



You May Have Missed...

Bizarre image bug distorts screenshots sent from iPhone 7 Plus to Pixel handsets
Mon, 11/28/2016 - 10:22

According to recent reports, some of the owners of Google new flagship Pixel handsets – Pixel and Pixel XL – have drawn attention to a bizarre...


Nigeria Update

Fresh Polio Cases lead to WHO Travel Restrictions on Pakistan and Syria
Tue, 05/06/2014 - 00:45

World Health Organization has slapped international travel restrictions on Pakistan, Cameroon...


Economy Watch

US Import Prices decline in April
Thu, 05/14/2015 - 01:13

For a straight 10th month, US import prices declined in April. The decline could be due to the...


Health Tonight

A quick look at the disease of prostate cancer
Sat, 11/19/2016 - 09:16

Prostate cancer, a disease that mostly affects elderly males, is luckily one of the slowest...


Science Tonight

Researchers measure coconut crabs’ remarkable squeezing force
Sat, 11/26/2016 - 11:06

A coconut crab can easily crack open hard-shelled coconut, thanks to the remarkable pinching or...


UK News

Researchers find direct link between bedtime media device use & inadequate sleep
Tue, 11/01/2016 - 09:53

Children and teenagers who use mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and computers at night...


Pharmaceuticals

Aetna
Sat, 01/17/2015 - 06:04

Aetna inc., health care company, on Friday announced that it has signed a deal with Gilead...


US News

Microsoft’s popular version of Solitaire comes to iOS and Android
Thu, 11/24/2016 - 10:05

In a Wednesday announcement, Microsoft said that it is launching the popular Microsoft Solitaire...


Technology Tonight

Microsoft’s popular version of Solitaire comes to iOS and Android
Thu, 11/24/2016 - 10:05

In a Wednesday announcement, Microsoft said that it is launching the popular Microsoft Solitaire...