NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to make final observations of Saturn
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft after studying Saturn, its rings and moons for more than 12 years, has entered in the final year of its epic voyage.
In its epic voyage, the Cassini spacecraft will make the closest-ever observations of the planet. Beginning November 30, 2016 Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn.
During the final voyage
- Cassini will be mapping the Saturn’s magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision. It will be returning ultra-close views of the Saturn’s atmosphere.
- Its orbit will be just past the outer edge of the main rings of Saturn. These orbits will be in a series of 20 which are called the F-ring orbits.
- Cassini will approach to within 7,800 kilometres of the centre of the narrow F ring with its peculiar kinked and braided structure during these weekly orbits.
- Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. It is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet and studying Saturnian system in detail.
- It is a joint endeavor of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).
- Cassini is the 4th space probe to visit Saturn and the 1st to enter successfully in its orbit and its mission is ongoing as of 2016.
- Its design includes a Saturn orbiter (Cassini) and a lander (Huygens) for the moon Titan. They are named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.
- The spacecraft was launched on 15 October 1997 aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur and it had entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.
- On 25 December 2004, Huygens lander had separated from orbiter and landed on Saturn’s moon Titan on 14 January 2005. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.