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Cassini spacecraft for Saturn moon pass

The Cassini spacecraft is to make its lowest pass yet over the south pole of Enceladus, an active moon of Saturn which may harbour a liquid water ocean.
The flyby, at an altitude of 74km, will allow Cassini to "taste" the jets of ice and water vapour that gush from the moon's polar region.

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 Probe to end mission in ring gap

The Cassini space probe will dive into the narrow gap between Saturn's atmosphere and its innermost ring for the final leg of its mission in 2016.
Cassini has been orbiting Saturn from a distance - outside the ring system.
The last set of orbits will bring the spacecraft up close, offering new scientific insights, perhaps even clues to the age of its majestic rings.
They offer the final chance to gather data before Cassini is destroyed in Saturn's atmosphere.

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Cassini Testing Part of Its Radio System

Engineers with NASA's Cassini mission are conducting diagnostic testing on a part of the spacecraft's radio system after its signal was not detected on Earth during a tracking pass in late December. The spacecraft has been communicating with Earth using a backup part.
The issue occurred with the ultra-stable oscillator, which is used for one type of radio science experiment and also as a means of sending data back to Earth. The spacecraft is currently using an auxiliary oscillator, whose frequency stability is adequate for transmitting data from the spacecraft to Earth. Tests later this month will help mission managers decide whether it will be possible to bring the ultra-stable oscillator back into service.

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NASA's Cassini Delivers Holiday Treats From Saturn

The release includes images of satellite conjunctions in which one moon passes in front of or behind another. Cassini scientists regularly make these observations to study the ever-changing orbits of the planet's moons. But even in these routine images, the Saturnian system shines. A few of Saturn's stark, airless, icy moons appear to dangle next to the orange orb of Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. Titan's atmosphere is of great interest because of its similarities to the atmosphere believed to exist long ago on the early Earth.
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Portraits of Moons Captured by Cassini

cassini20111212-640.jpg

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its closest-ever pass over Saturn's moon Dione on Monday, Dec. 12, slaloming its way through the Saturn system on its way to tomorrow's close flyby of Titan. Cassini is expected to glide about 3,600 kilometres over the Titan surface on Dec. 13.
In the selection of the raw images obtained during the Cassini Dione flyby, Dione is sometimes joined by other moons. Mimas appears just beyond the dark side of Dione in one view. In another view, Epimetheus and Pandora appear together, along with Saturn's rings.

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Cassini to Make a Double Play

In an action-packed day and a half, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be making its closest swoop over the surface of Saturn's moon Dione and scrutinising the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
The closest approach to Dione, about 99 kilometres above the surface, will take place at about 1:39 a.m. PST (4:39 a.m. EST) on Dec. 12. One of the questions Cassini scientists will be asking during this flyby is whether Dione's surface shows any signs of activity. Understanding Dione's internal structure will help address that question, so Cassini's radio science instrument will learn how highly structured the moon's interior is by measuring variations in the moon's gravitational tug on the spacecraft. The composite infrared spectrometer instrument will also look for heat emissions along fractures on the moon's surface.
On Cassini's journey out from Dione toward Titan, the imaging science subsystem will turn back to look at Dione's distinctive, wispy fractures and a ridge called Janiculum Dorsa.
Cassini will approach within about 3,600 kilometres of the Titan surface, at about 12:11 p.m. PST (3:11 PM EST) on Dec. 13. At Titan, the composite infrared spectrometer will be making measurements to understand how the seasonal transition from spring to summer affects wind patterns in the atmosphere near Titan's north pole. It will also search for mist.

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The complete Cassini-Huygens space probe was launched on October 15, 1997 by a Titan IVB/Centaur, and after a long interplanetary voyage it entered into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004.
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NASA says an instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft studying Saturn and its moons is temporarily out of service.
The space agency said Wednesday the plasma spectrometer, which measures the energy of electrons and protons, was turned off this week as a precaution after a short circuit on the spacecraft.

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Cassini Spacecraft Observes Seasonal Rains on Titan

This is the first time scientists have obtained current evidence of rain soaking Titan's surface at low latitudes.
As spring continues to unfold on Saturn, April showers on the planet's largest moon, Titan, have brought methane rain to its equatorial deserts, as revealed in images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
This is the first time scientists have obtained current evidence of rain soaking Titan's surface at low latitudes. The observations are released today in the journal Science.

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Cassini to Sample Magnetic Environment around Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is set to skim close to Saturn's moon Titan on Friday, Feb. 18, to learn about the interaction between Titan and Saturn's magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble around the planet.
The closest approach will take place at 8:04 a.m. PST (4:04 p.m. UTC) and bring Cassini within about 3,650 kilometres of Titan's surface.

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