NASA’s highly successful Saturn-exploring spacecraft, Cassini, will be making one more flyby of the moon Titan before the end of its mission. This Saturday, Cassini will make one last pass over the moon, coming within almost 600 miles of its surface. As it does so, it will be taking photos and readings with its various instruments the entire time.
Cassini to Take One More Look At Titan Before It Says Its Final Farewell
With this last flyby, there will be a flurry of tests and experiments for Cassini, even as its directors prepare for a final trajectory change. Scientists hope to take measurements of the depth of Titan’s methane lakes and seas.
The experiments could also shed light on the moon’s so-called “magic islands”. These latter are now believed to be the result of static electricity building up on tiny particles of sand.
Cassini’s INMS or the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer will also be closely examining the upper atmosphere of Titan. It will do so in an attempt to discover how it changes over time. The magnetometer on board the spacecraft will be used to measure Titan’s northern magnetic tail.