Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
On Monday August 17 Cassini will make its last close fly-by of Saturn’s moon Dionne, dipping to within 295 miles of the surface.
During the flyby, Cassini’s cameras and spectrometers will get a high-resolution peek at Dione’s north pole at a resolution of only a few feet (or meters). In addition, Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument will map areas on the icy moon that have unusual thermal anomalies — those regions are especially good at trapping heat. Meanwhile, the mission’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer continues its search for dust particles emitted from Dione.
The image of Dionne above is from a June 16, 2015 fly-by, The diagonal line at the top is Saturn’s rings.
After more than a decade, Cassini’s mission is in its final stages. When completed, we will have no way for decades to get close-up images of this gas giant, its spectacular rings, or its many very different moons.