Monday, March 07, 2005

This Week's Encounters

Cassini is currently near periapsis on its fifth orbit of Saturn (rev 04), and while there will be no Titan encounter this time around, there will be a few very intreguing icy satellite flybys, not the least of which is the targeted 500 km flyby of Enceladus early Wednesday morning. This encounter comes on the heals of last month's 1000 km flyby which revealed a variety of terrains that were part Europa, part Ganymede, and part Miranda with what appear to be tectonic grabens and cryovolcanic flows. As seen at the MER Forum, Bjorn Jonsson has a few graphics showing the areas that will be visible to Cassini on this pass. This area is to the east of the region covered last month.

In addition to the Enceladus close flyby, there is also a non-targeted Tethys flyby. At close approach, Tethys' Ithaca Chasma will be clearly visible to Cassini near the Tethyan terminator.


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