Cassini sends images before the grand finale

#space #NASA #Cassini #Saturn #Daphnis #rings #image #solarsystem

Currently, the Cassini spacecraft is performing flybys of Saturn, making its closest approach to it’s rings. These will continue on till the mission ends in September, when Cassini will perform a death plunge into the gas giant.

Every new image beamed by Cassini during its last mission has come bearing some evolutionary secret or shows an unpredictable side of the planet or a feature that would otherwise been impossible to envisage.

Cassini recently shared an image taken on January 16, 2017 that shows unprecedented views of the outer edges of Saturn’s main ring system. The image also shows the planet’s moon Daphnis.

The image was taken 30,000 kms from Daphnis and at a Sun-Daphnis-spacecraft angle of 69 degrees.

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Getting to know more about the outside space, just makes us more curious on what is to see out there. This is amazing, and I am wishing further missions such as this in the future.

Cassini’s first dive near Saturn

#Cassini #Saturn #space #spacecraft #dive #exploration

A stream of pictures showing Saturn’s swirling clouds, massive hurricane and odd six-sided vortex weather system were transmitted back to Earth by Cassini, which has been exploring Saturn for 13 years.

The Cassini spacecraft dove in the gap between Saturn and it’s innermost ring, a distance of not more than 2,400 km and littered with ice particles. Cassini, which travels at 124,000 km per hour during these dives, can be destroyed even by the smallest particle striking the spacecraft. Hence, Cassini’s dish-shaped communications antenna is re-positioned temporarily during such dives to act as a shield.

The spacecraft will be diving 21 more times after this, as planned by NASA, and will be crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere, thus seeing Saturn at the closest, on September 15.

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This is amazing, getting to know more about other planets. But it is disappointing that we have to crash Cassini, which cost millions of dollars,  because there is no more fuel left in the spacecraft.

A Saturn moon with life

#Saturn #Cassini #moon #planet #Enceladus #extraterrestrialLife #space

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is suspected of having a habitable environment for microbes or other alien life. On earth at least, hydrothermal vents trhive with microbial life, offering up the potential that icy moons far away from Earth could be habitable.

Cassini, a spacecraft in its final months after 13 years of exploring Saturn and its moons, found that levels of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen and Methane measured in the Enceladus plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into for food. Since the atmosphere has Hydrogen in adequate quantities, it would have been released when the water molecules (two Hydrogen atoms and an Oxygen atom makes a water molecule) are broken down. Hence, the probability of microbial life is high.

Although the moon has an icy exterior, with the ice sheet going beneath the surface for up to 5 kms, the substance below it is liquid water. The tidal forces of Saturn pulling and squeezing Enceladus generates enough heat to melt the ice beneath. Enceladus is believed to have a global ocean.

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Glad to know that there is a possibility of life somewhere other than Earth, although life at Enceladus does seem to be at the very initial steps.


Grand Finale for Cassini Saturn Mission

#Cassini #NASA #space #Saturn #Titan #spacecraft

This is what you call a necessary evil. I think.

NASA’s Cassini will start its farewell tour of the Saturn system on April 22, since the spacecraft is running out of fuel, and after five months on September 15, Cassini will spectacularly burn up in Saturn’s crushing atmosphere.

Although, before that, Cassini will be diving through the 1,930 kilometers gap between Saturn and it’s innermost ring. This will allow Cassini to make detailed maps of Saturn’s magnetic and gravitational fields, helping scientists understand what structures lie beneath the planet’s atmosphere and revealing the mechanisms behind Saturn’s mysterious spin.

Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004, and has usually opted for a safer/distant orbit so that Saturn’s moon can be studies, while also observing Saturn from a distance. However, due to depletion of the fuel and the main mission in its final months, more risks can be taken to carry out observations.

Cassini will be traveling at a speed of 122,000 kmph when it passes between Saturn and its innermost ring (D-ring).

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Long Live Cassini! _/_

NASA Cassini-Huygens grazes past Saturn rings!

NASA’s Cassini-Huygens spacecraft made its first close dive past the outer rings of the planet. The spacecraft started going very close to the Saturn’s rings starting November 30th and was able to graze the rings on December 4th. This grazing was the first of the 20 ring grazing orbits that are to be completed, one every week, by April 26.

Saturn is considered the most beautiful planet in our Solar system with its thousands of rings that are spread across hundreds of kilometres. This project is called ring grazing because because the spacecraft will be “skimming past the outer edge of the rings” in this phase. The Cassini-Huygens is also said to be able to collect sample particles and gases during the grazing.

Scientists reveal that even though the spacecraft is flying close to the F ring than it ever has, it will still be 7,800 kilometres away. The F Ring system is the outer most part of the Saturn’s main ring system. This grazing mission not only allows us to test samples of Saturn but also click the most amazing images of Saturn, its rings and most importantly the numerous moons.

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