On April 22, Cassini rocket flew right by Titan, Saturn’s moon, for the last time before accomplishing this stage of the mission. NASA’s spacecraft passed by Titan on Saturday, utilizing the moon’s gravity to speed up and catapult on a new trajectory. The new goal now is for the spaceship to observe the area between the famous rings of Saturn and the hydrogen-helium atmosphere of the planet for the first time.
- A new stage of Cassini’s mission is complete, starting now to explore the rings of Saturn.
- On April 22, Cassini rocket flew by Titan for the last time before using gravity to catapult towards the rings of Saturn.
- The spaceship will end its mission in September this year.
Cassini rocket is now putting an end to a fantastic era of findings which offered astronomers insights about Titan’s weather patterns, sand dunes, and seas. The probe traveled 608 miles above the moon of Saturn, finishing its journey at 0608 GMT on Saturday, April 22. The spaceship was meant to collect the final pieces of information on Titan before ending its mission.
Nevertheless, the next step of the future mission was already undergone when the rocket altered its orbit to pass through the rings of Saturn. The flyby on April 22 represented the last time when astronomers captured detailed pictures of Titan after a decade of continuous observations. The sensors of Cassini rocket were scheduled to collect data about Titan’s seas and lakes, examine its atmosphere, take many pictures and investigate the interaction between the magnetic field of Saturn and the ionosphere of Titan.
Linda Spilker, the mission project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, claimed that the up-close investigations performed by Cassini rocket on Saturn’s moon were just another completed stage of the mission which was now left behind while the craft continues with its new plan. However, the massive volume of information collected by the spaceship will serve as a guideline for further scientific studies in the future.
During the next weeks, scientists will spend their time examining the information received during the flyby on Saturday, April 22. To alter its orbit and catapult, Cassini rocket past Saturn’s moon at a speed of approximately 13,000 mph. Back in 2004, before Cassini spaceship reached Saturn, astronomers knew very little data about Titan. The surface of Saturn’s moon was hidden behind its orange atmosphere which is very rich in nitrogen.
Due to the hazy atmosphere, back in 1980 and 1981, NASA’ Voyager probe was not able to spot the surface of Titan due to the orange atmosphere. In September this year, the craft will crash into Saturn ending its mission.
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