Cassini Doubleheader

Flying By Titan and Dione

In a special double flyby early next week, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will visit Saturn's moons Titan and Dione within a period of about a day and a half, with no maneuvers in between. A fortuitous cosmic alignment allows Cassini to attempt this doubleheader, and the interest in swinging by Dione influenced the design of its extended mission.
Image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft of Saturn's moon Titan. This image is a composite of several images taken during two separate Titan flybys on Oct. 9 (T19) and Oct. 25 (T20). The large circular feature near the center of Titan's disk may be the remnant of a very old impact basin. The mountain ranges to the southeast of the circular feature, and the long dark, linear feature to the northwest of the old impact scar may have resulted from tectonic activity on Titan caused by the energy released when the impact occurred.

Image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft of Saturn's moon Titan. This image is a composite of several images taken during two separate Titan flybys on Oct. 9 (T19) and Oct. 25 (T20). The large circular feature near the center of Titan's disk may be the remnant of a very old impact basin. The mountain ranges to the southeast of the circular feature, and the long dark, linear feature to the northwest of the old impact scar may have resulted from tectonic activity on Titan caused by the energy released when the impact occurred.

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Titan´s haze-shrouded surface

The Titan flyby, planned for Monday, April 5, will take Cassini to within about 7,500 kilometers (4,700 miles) of the moon's surface. The distance is relatively long as far as encounters go, but it works to the advantage of Cassini's imaging science subsystem. Cassini's cameras will be able to stare at Titan's haze-shrouded surface for a longer time and capture high-resolution pictures of the Belet and Senkyo areas, dark regions around the equator that ripple with sand dunes.
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