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Cassini enters Ring-Grazing Orbits

December 1, 2016; Srama, Ralf

Cassini Ring-Grazing Orbits (NASA/JPL)

On Nov. 30, 2016, NASA's Cassini mission began a daring set of ring-grazing orbits, skimming past the outside edge of Saturn's main rings. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer performs detailed investigations of particle densities and particle compositons. What is the composition of F-ring particles and how they are different to the outer E-ring?

Cassini used Titan’s gravity during the Titan 125 (T-125) flyby to put the spacecraft into its history-making Ring-Grazing Orbits. The spacecraft will be in an elliptical (egg-shaped) orbit inclined about 60 degrees from Saturn’s ring plane. On each orbit, Cassini will swoop down through the ring plane just outside Saturn’s F ring.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) was developed by the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (Heidelberg) and the German Space Agency (DLR, Berlin). It is operated by the Institute for Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart (Principal Investigator R. Srama). The project is supported by the German Space Administration DLR. 

For more information visit the official Cassini Ring-Grazing News

The official Cassini web page:

Cassini at NASA: