Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Our God is an awesome God

NASA: During Cassini's extended mission, the ring shadows will slip past the planet's equator and into the southern hemisphere as Saturn passes through its northern vernal equinox on August 11, 2009, and the sun moves northward through the ring plane.
From NASA, info on the Cassini Equinox Mission:

PASADENA, Calif.-NASA's Cassini mission is closing one chapter of its journey at Saturn and embarking on a new one with a two-year mission that will address new questions and bring it closer to two of its most intriguing targets-Titan and Enceladus.

On June 30, Cassini completes its four-year prime mission and begins its extended mission, which was approved in April of this year.

Among other things, Cassini revealed the Earth-like world of Saturn's moon Titan and showed the potential habitability of another moon, Enceladus. These two worlds are primary targets in the two-year extended mission, dubbed the Cassini Equinox Mission. This time period also will allow for monitoring seasonal effects on Titan and Saturn, exploring new places within Saturn's magnetosphere, and observing the unique ring geometry of the Saturn equinox in August of 2009 when sunlight will pass directly through the plane of the rings. . .

Cassini launched Oct. 15, 1997, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a seven-year journey to Saturn, traversing 3.5 billion kilometers (2.2 billion miles). The mission entered Saturn's orbit on June 30, 2004, and began returning stunning data of Saturn's rings almost immediately. The spacecraft is extremely healthy and carries 12 instruments powered by three radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Data from Cassini's nominal and extended missions could lay the groundwork for possible future missions to Saturn, Titan or Enceladus. . .

Check it out.
NASA: During its first four years of exploration, Cassini has made the Saturn system a familiar place to us Earthlings. The intrepid craft has returned more than 150,000 images since arriving in orbit in mid-2004.

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