A raw image of Titan captured by the Cassini apparatus during its last closest flight on April 21, 2017.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft last approached the satellite of Saturn, Titan. He has now embarked on a series of 22 orbits around a ring planet.
The 127th final rendezvous occurred on April 21, when the vehicle approached 979 km to the surface. Cassini managed to send images and other data to Earth, and now scientists this week will consider the information in order to understand the situation with hydrocarbon seas and lakes that are common in the northern polar region of the satellite.
Previously, the site was considered cameras, but not radar. Therefore, the team is also going to use new information to study the depths and compositions of small lakes and find traces of the evolution of the “magic island”.
Cassini will not return to such a close approach, but scientists still have a huge body of data that can take decades to study.
Span redirected the unit to the dramatic finish line. When passing over the satellite, gravity changed the path of the probe. Due to this, a series of 22 scheduled dives between the rings and the planet starts, the first of which will occur on April 26. September 15, the unit will plunge into the atmosphere.
Now Cassini is on a ballistic trajectory, so even if you try to change the course or use the engines, the probe will still sink into the atmosphere at the planned time. The speed increased to 860.5 m / s.
Key figures of the Great Final
After flying over Titan, the device reached the far point of Saturn's orbit (April 22). This apoapsis is the place where Cassini’s new path begins around the planet. The first stage will begin on April 26th with an ultra-close dive. At this point, the ship will cease to give signals and the next day will send the collected information.
In the video you can see what you feel in traveling with Cassini near Saturn, using a 360-degree turn.