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Apr 24 / Peter Polito

NASA Extends Cassini Mission Two Additional Years

Earlier this month NASA announced plans to extend the Cassini mission an additional two years. The Cassini Orbiter and Huygens Probe have returned an enormous amount of information pertaining to the Saturn system, especially Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. For nearly four years the Cassini Orbiter has given the scientific community unprecedented imagery of Titan’s surface, including impact craters, cryovolcanic features, dune fields, and dendritic river patters, revealed geysers on Enceladus, and discovered several new moons in the Saturn system

Lakes and rivers at Titan’s north pole
Source: NASA and JPL

Cassini’s mission originally had been scheduled to end in July 2008. The newly-announced two-year extension will include 60 additional orbits of Saturn and more flybys of its exotic moons. These will include 26 flybys of Titan, seven of Enceladus, and one each of Dione, Rhea and Helene. The extension also includes studies of Saturn’s rings, its complex magnetosphere, and the planet itself.

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