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June 15-21, 2015 / Vol 34, No 24 / Hawai`i Island, USA

12 Jun 2015, 20:21 UTC
June 15-21, 2015 / Vol 34, No 24 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Cassini Spacecraft Nears 11 Years of Saturn Exploration, 18 Years in Space

The multinational Cassini orbiter will reach 11 full years of science operations in Saturn orbit on June 30 and 18 years in space October 15. A joint mission of NASA, ESA and ASI, the craft is the 4th to visit Saturn and the 1st to enter orbit. It is currently circling Saturn with a period of 18.9-days, 0.3° from the gas giant’s equatorial plane. Between June 15-16 Cassini is planned to make flybys of 8 of 62 known Saturn moons: Dione (516 km), Polydeuces (35,000 km), Telesto (44,000 km), Janus (101,000 km), Methone (110,000 km), Atlas (111,000 km), Pan (118,000 km) and Titan (958,000 km). A particular goal of the Dione (upper right) flyby will be to map the quarter of the hemisphere that faces Saturn including the tectonically deformed terrain named “Eurotas Chasmata” first observed by the Voyager mission 35 years ago. Cassini made its final close approach of Hyperion (upper left) at 34,000 km on May 31. Investigation teams continue to convene at science meetings on Juno-Cassini, Jupiter-Saturn magnetosphere, one of which will be held June 22-26 at JPL in Pasadena. Cassini is expected to collect ...

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