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Target 2: Dione

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Essay Contest: Dione (Target 2)

Paul Stumpf

Cassini Navigator

Hi. My name is Paul, and I'm a maneuver analyst on the Cassini navigation team.
My job consists of designing the commands needed to tell the spacecraft where to go as it orbits Saturn.

I think the best target is number two, Dione.

This will be a wonderful observation of one of Saturn's most interesting moons using Cassini's Narrow Angle Camera.
Particles from Saturn's rings continuously hit this moon, so its surface is heavily cratered.

New evidence indicates that there might be a liquid layer under its hard surface.
The crater patterns on Dione seem to show that the moon has been turned around 180 degrees.
The reason for this shift, however, is one of the mysteries we are still trying to solve.
Hopefully, this observation will help us unlock this mystery.

Some of the images we have taken during the Cassini mission show that Dione also has a large system of very bright ice cliffs that look like wispy terrain.

The Cassini spacecraft has had four close flybys of Dione, with the closest being only 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, from the surface.
The next flyby will be in 2015, and that will be the last time Cassini will get close to this fascinating moon.

This observation will help us prepare for that opportunity so I urge you to select Target two.

Good luck!