Cassini to dip into Enceladus spray again

Apr 16, 2012 By Jia-Rui Cook
NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make a close approach to the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus on April 14, 2012. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Phys.org) -- Less than three weeks after its last visit to the Saturnian moon Enceladus, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returns for an encore. At closest approach on April 14, the spacecraft will be just as low over the moon's south polar region as it was on March 27 -- 46 miles, or 74 kilometers.

Like the last, this latest flyby is mainly designed for Cassini's ion and neutral mass spectrometer, which will "taste" the particles in the curious jets spraying from the moon's . Combined with the March 27 flyby and a similar flyby on Oct. 1, 2011, this close encounter will provide a sense of the jets' three-dimensional structure and help determine how much they change over time.

On Cassini's outbound leg, the spacecraft will pass by another Saturnian moon, Tethys, at a distance of about 6,000 miles (9,000 kilometers). The will look for patterns in Tethys' thermal signature. Other instruments will study the moon's composition and geology. The imaging cameras are expected to obtain new views of Enceladus and Tethys.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

Explore further: India tests long-range missile from mobile launcher

More information: For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit: www.nasa.gov/cassini and saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/ .

Related Stories

Icy Moons through Cassini's Eyes

Mar 29, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- These raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's moons Enceladus, Janus and Dione were taken on March 27 and 28, 2012, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Latest Cassini images of Enceladus on view

Oct 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Raw, unprocessed images from the successful Oct. 19 flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus by NASA's Cassini spacecraft provide new views of the moon and the icy jets that burst from its southern ...

Cassini flyby focuses on Saturn's moon Enceladus

Nov 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Saturn's moon Enceladus shows its icy face and famous plumes in raw, unprocessed images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its successful flyby on Nov. 6, 2011.

Saturn's geyser moon Enceladus shows off for Cassini

Oct 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its Oct. 1 flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus and its jets of water vapor and ice. At its closest approach, the spacecraft flew approximately ...

Cassini presents Saturn moon quintet

Sep 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- With the artistry of a magazine cover shoot, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this portrait of five of Saturn's moons poised along the planet's rings.

Recommended for you

Japan launches new spy satellite

2 hours ago

Japan on Sunday successfully launched a back-up spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, after cancelling an earlier lift-off due to bad weather.

NASA launches satellite to measure soil moisture

2 hours ago

NASA on Saturday launched a new Earth-observing satellite that aims to give scientists high-resolution maps showing how much moisture lies in soil in order to improve climate forecasts.

Going a long way to do a quick data collection

Jan 30, 2015

Like many a scientist before me, I have spent this week trying to grow a crystal. I wasn't fussy, it didn't have to be a single crystal – a smush of something would have done – just as long as it had ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NickFun
not rated yet Apr 17, 2012
How is this water being replenished? The water should have dried up long ago on such A tiny moon.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.