Imperial College London

Cassini spacecraft begins its final dance with Saturn

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The Cassini mission, which has been orbiting Saturn for 13 years, will go closer to the planet than ever this month in a daring series of dives.

The spacecraft is running out of fuel, and will be driven into the atmosphere of Saturn and burnt up on the 15 September 2017.

Before that, however, it will undertake its most dangerous manoeuvres yet – diving 22 times inside the planet’s rings. The spacecraft will enter orbit for these dives today.

Professor Michele Dougherty, from the Department of Physics at Imperial, is in charge of one of the main instruments taking data in these final stages. In the video above, she tells us what Cassini will be doing, and why.

Professor Dougherty at the Imperial Festival (6 May)

Before the craft finally dives into the gas giant to its death in September, Professor Dougherty will talk live about it at the Imperial Festival on Saturday 6 May, 1pm, at the Sir Alexander Fleming Building (G16).

She will discuss Cassini's history of discoveries and the mysteries that could yet be revealed, such as what really lies beneath the cloud tops and how long a day is on Saturn.

Find out more about Michele Dougherty's free public lecture at the Imperial Festival.

Can’t attend the talk in person? Don’t worry, it will be live streamed on the College’s official YouTube channel.

Reporters

Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2412
Email: h.dunning@imperial.ac.uk

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Mr Martin Sayers (Digital Media Producer)

Mr Martin Sayers (Digital Media Producer)
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8136
Email: m.sayers@imperial.ac.uk

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