Cassini Finishes Saturnian Doubleheader

Apr 12, 2010
This image was taken on April 7, 2010 by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The camera was pointing at Saturn. But, by appropriate orientation of the spacecraft, the cameras were able to capture Dione in the sights. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft completed its double flyby this week, swinging by Saturn's moons Titan and Dione with no maneuver in between. The spacecraft has beamed back stunning raw images of fractured terrain and craters big and small on Dione, a moon that had only been visited once before by Cassini.

The Titan flyby took place April 5, and the Dione flyby took place April 7 in the UTC time zone, and April 6 Pacific time. During the Titan flyby, an unexpected autonomous reset occurred and Cassini obtained fewer images of Titan than expected. But the cameras were reset before reaching Dione, which was the primary target on this double flyby.

Scientists are poring over data from Dione to discern whether the moon could be a source of charged particles to the environment around and material to one of its rings. They are also trying to understand the history of dark material found on Dione.

Saturn's moon Dione. While pointed at Saturn, Cassini's cameras were able, by appropriate orientation, to spy the icy moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A fortuitous alignment of these moons allowed Cassini to attempt this doubleheader. Cassini had made three previous double flybys and another two are planned in the years ahead. The mission is nearing the end of its first extension, known as the Mission. It will begin its second mission extension, known as the Solstice Mission, in October 2010.

Explore further: Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

More information:
More information about the Titan flyby, dubbed "T67," is available at: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/flybys/titan20100405/
More information about the Dione flyby, dubbed "D2," is available at: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/flybys/dione20100407/

Related Stories

Cassini Doubleheader: Flying By Titan and Dione

Apr 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a special double flyby early next week, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will visit Saturn's moons Titan and Dione within a period of about a day and a half, with no maneuvers in between. A fortuitous ...

Cassini Attempts 12th Titan Flyby

Feb 28, 2006

NASA's Cassini spacecraft returns to Titan on Monday for its twelfth flyby since beginning to survey Saturn and its moons on July 4, 2004.

Cassini's Photo Album From a Season of Icy Moons

Dec 07, 2005

Wrapping up a phenomenally successful year of observing Saturn's icy moons, the Cassini mission is releasing a flood of new views of the moons Enceladus, Dione, Rhea, Hyperion and Iapetus.

Cassini Shows Before and After Look at Titan

Dec 20, 2004

Cassini's second close flyby of Titan completes a 'before' and 'after' look at the fuzzy moon and provides the first direct evidence of changing weather patterns in the skies over Titan. Cassini has found Titan's ...

Recommended for you

The importance of plumes

16 minutes ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

3 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

3 hours ago

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

The importance of plumes

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...