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Cassini Probe Finds Less Dust, More Interaction Than Expected Between Saturn’s Rings, Atmosphere

30 August 2017
SPACE reports that NASA Project Manager for the Cassini mission at Saturn Earl Maize said during a news conference Tuesday that the planet “continues to surprise us.” Maize said that the Cassini probe has found that Saturn’s rings have less dust than anticipated, causing less damage to the probe than the team had expected. Maize said that if there had been more fuel, he would have been happy to have the probe continue to explore the rings, but the spacecraft will be forced to start its final set of maneuvers on September 15. Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker said that the probe’s in-situ samples of the Saturnian atmosphere, the first taken from within the atmosphere itself, have shown that the relationship between the planet’s rings and atmosphere is “more complex” than expected. (Image: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA)
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