This is what an artist thinks Cassini might look like when it uses its rocket engine to slow down and go into orbit around Saturn.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA/JPL.
Cassini arrives at Saturn
News story originally written on June 30, 2004
A spacecraft named Cassini will get to
Saturn on June 30, 2004. Cassini's rocket engine will burn for 96 minutes to
slow the robot spaceship down. If it works, Cassini will be captured into orbit
around Saturn. Cassini was launched
in 1997, so it has taken nearly seven years
complete its long journey to Saturn.
Cassini will orbit Saturn for at least four years. It will use its 12 instruments
to study Saturn, its rings,
and its moons. Cassini is also carrying
a smaller probe named Huygens. Huygens will land on Titan, Saturn's largest
moon, in January 2005.
Cassini will get its closest views of its entire mission of Saturn and of
Saturn's rings during this first swing by the planet. In fact, Cassini will
pass through the rings twice while
braking into orbit. Cassini will turn its main antenna dish forward when it
passes through the ring, to act as a shield
against high-speed collisions with ring particles.
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