Cassini Heads Toward Final Close Encounter with Titan

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NASA’s Cassini booster will make a final tighten flyby of Saturn’s haze-enshrouded moon Titan this weekend. The flyby outlines a mission’s final event for up-close observations of a lakes and seas of glass hydrocarbons that widespread opposite a moon’s northern frigid region, and a final possibility to use a absolute radar to pierce a mist and make minute images of a surface.

Cassini will make a final tighten flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan on Apr 21 (PDT), regulating a radar to exhibit a moon’s aspect lakes and seas one final time. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Closest proceed to Titan is designed for 11:08 p.m. PDT on Apr 21 (2:08 a.m. EDT Apr 22). During a encounter, Cassini will pass as tighten as 608 miles (979 kilometers) above Titan’s aspect during a speed of about 13,000 mph (21,000 kph).

The flyby is also a gateway to Cassini’s Grand Finale — a final set of 22 orbits that pass between a world and a rings, culmination with a thrust into Saturn on Sept. 15 that will finish a mission. During a tighten pass on Apr 21, Titan’s sobriety will hook Cassini’s circuit around Saturn, timorous it slightly, so that instead of flitting only outward a rings, a booster will start a culmination dives that pass only inside a rings.

The flyby is Cassini’s 127th targeted confront with Titan. A targeted flyby is one for that a booster uses a rocket engine or thrusters to accurately aim toward a encounter.

Cassini’s radar instrument will demeanour for changes in Titan’s methane lakes and seas, and try for a initial (and last) time to investigate a abyss and combination of Titan’s smaller lakes. The radar instrument will also hunt a final time for Titan’s “magic island,” a puzzling underline in one of a moon’s seas that altered in coming over a march of several flybys. Scientists wish to benefit additional insights to assistance them establish either a underline is waves, bubbles, floating debris, or something else entirely.

Source: JPL

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