Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cassini Mission Extended for Another Seven Years

In an expected move, NASA approved the extension of the Cassini mission for another ten years into 2017.  Called the Solstice Mission (previously referred to as the XXM mission), this extension would be an exciting new mission in its own right:
  • Over 50 flybys of Titan, 11 of Enceladus, and 12 of other moons
  • Continued observations of Saturn and its rings as the season changes from equinox to solstice
  • Twenty orbits with the periapses just outside the F ring for detailed measurements of the rings mass and structure
  • Twenty-two orbits with the periapses inside the rings and just above the atmosphere for studies of Saturn's interior (to be followed by Cassini's plunge into the atmosphere at the end of the mission)


Press release

Presentation on Solstice Mission goals and mechanics This presentation is loaded with details on the Solstice mission.

Excellent Planetary Society discussion on the Solstice mission

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