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Cassini
Cassini Mission to Venus Cassini Mission to Earth's Moon Cassini Mission to Jupiter Cassini Mission to Asteroids Cassini Mission to Saturn

Goals: En route to its primary science target at Saturn, scientists used a fortunate encounter with 2685 Masursky to investigate the asteroid's size and dimensions, and albedo of an object too small to accurately measure from Earth. It also provided a chance to test the spacecraft's object-targeting capabilities.

Accomplishments: Cassini flew within 1.5 million km of 2685 Masursky in Janurary 2000. Scientists made more detailed size estimates of Masursky -- about 15-20 km in diameter -- and found evidence it may have unexpected properties.

   

Key Dates
15 Oct 1997:  Launch
30 Dec 2000:  Jupiter Flyby
1 Jul 2004:  Saturn Orbit Insertion
24 Dec 2004:  Huygens Probe Release
14 Jan 2005:  Huygens Probe Landing
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
Cassini Facts The spacecraft is named in honor of Giovanni Cassini (right), the 17th century astronomer who discovered gaps in Saturn's rings.

Cassini is a truly international mission. Three space agencies and 17 nations contributed to the mission.

The orbiter is about the same size as a 30 passenger school bus. It weighs roughly 5,650 kg (6 tons). Half of that is rocket fuel.

The orbiter is named for Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini (right).

Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn.

Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn in 1979.

The spacecraft is named for Giovanni Cassini (1625 - 1712), the European astronomer who discovered four moons of Saturn and a large gap in the planet's rings.

Cassini was the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn. Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 were flyby missions.

Saturn and its ring system serve as a miniature model for the disc of gas and dust surrounding the early Sun that formed the planets.
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Last Updated: 7 May 2014