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More About Cassini's Final Mission Phase

Cassini spacecraft between Saturn and its rings

More About Cassini's Final Mission Phase

Cassini spacecraft between Saturn and its rings
As it plunges past Saturn, Cassini will collect some incredibly rich and valuable information that the mission’s original planners might never have imagined. The spacecraft will make detailed maps of Saturn’s gravity and magnetic fields, revealing how the planet is arranged on the inside, and possibly helping to solve the irksome mystery of just how fast the interior is rotating. It will vastly improve our knowledge of how much material is in the rings, bringing us closer to understanding their origins. Cassini’s particle detectors will sample icy ring particles being funneled into the atmosphere by Saturn’s magnetic field. And its cameras will take amazing, ultra-close images of Saturn’s rings and clouds.

No other mission has ever explored this unique region so close to the planet. What we learn from these activities will help to improve our understanding of how giant planets – and families of planets everywhere – form and evolve. And at the end of its final orbit, as it falls into Saturn’s atmosphere, Cassini completes its 20-year mission by ensuring the biologically interesting worlds Enceladus and Titan could never be contaminated by hardy microbes that might have stowed away and survived the journey intact. It’s inspiring, adventurous and romantic – a fitting end to this thrilling story of discovery.

Thank you for helping us choose a fitting name for the final chapter!

Note: this feature began on April 10, 2014, and the last day to submit names was on April 25, 2014.




  • Blend space exploration with reading and writing -- Reading, Writing & Rings!
  • Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Students get involved
  • Cassini Raw Images