Timeline: 15 Years of Cassini

The Cassini spacecraft takes an angled view toward Saturn, showing the southern reaches of the planet with the rings on a dramatic diagonal. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

The Cassini mission has been a source of awe-inspiring images, surprising science and incredible longevity. Since launching on Oct. 15, 1997, the Cassini spacecraft has logged more than 6.1 billion kilometers (3.8 billion miles)of exploration – enough to circle Earth more than 152,000 times. After flying by Venus twice, Earth, and then Jupiter on its way to Saturn, Cassini pulled into orbit around the ringed planet in 2004 and has been spending its last eight years weaving around Saturn, its glittering rings and intriguing moons.

The spacecraft has sent back some 444 gigabytes of scientific data so far, including more than 300,000 images. More than 2,500 reports have been published in scientific journals based on Cassini data, describing the discovery of the plume of water ice and organic particles spewing from the moon Enceladus; the first views of the hydrocarbon-filled lakes of Saturn’s largest moon Titan; the atmospheric upheaval from a rare, monstrous storm on Saturn and many other curious phenomena.

The folks from the Cassini mission have put together a great infographic that provides a timeline of Cassini’s mission and some of its “greatest hits” — major events and discoveries. See below:

6 Replies to “Timeline: 15 Years of Cassini”

  1. wow, how exactly do you lower the orbit without crossing through the rings? will they try to aim the gaps created by moons?

      1. well yes, but you have to cross the rings plane sooner or later, so either they do everything in one orbit (Hohmann transfer?), or I don’t know how

      2. As long as the orbit outside the rings is not in the plane of the rings and Cassini has enough thrust to do the two Hohmann transfer burns, it should work within half an orbit to get from outside to inside. If not, I have no idea.

  2. Thank to the Judge who allowed the Cassini to lift off despite of the objections of Luddites, retrograde fascist like the social parasite actor Martin Shehan along with another so called gadfly, whose primary objective is to put a stop to everything by filing law suits.

    Such fascists should be put to death immidiatly , I remember that social parasite Martin shehan calling NASA an arrogant government agency, who was not following his dikat, about not letting Cassini life off because of the nuclear fuel and their was another enemy of the people , who was worried about the nuclear fuel dumped on the earth during the earth orbit insertion.

    Media by concentratin g on the so called publicity hungry fascists, is truly impending the progress of science and man kind.

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