The Cassini spacecraft peers down through layers of haze to glimpse the lakes of Titan's northern regions. This image was released on April 7, 2014.

The Cassini spacecraft peers down through layers of haze to glimpse the lakes of Titan's northern regions. This image was released on April 7, 2014.

T-107: Checking the Density of Titan’s Atmosphere

T-107 is the second of two Titan flybys in the Solstice Mission where Titan’s atmospheric density will be measured three different ways at the same time. The ion and neutral mass spectrometer (INMS), the attitude and articulation control subsystem (AACS) team, and the navigation (NAV) team will simultaneously acquire atmospheric measurements using three different, independent methods. The NAV team will track Cassini during its pass through the upper atmosphere, after which they can estimate the density based on the amount of drag the atmosphere exerts on the spacecraft. AACS will estimate the density by looking at how the atmosphere affects the spacecraft’s rotation (known as torque), and INMS will gather direct measurements by sampling the atmosphere. Collecting these three measurements is critical to understanding differences in the atmospheric density as calculated by the INMS, NAV, and AACS teams, as well as the ultraviolet imaging spectrograph (UVIS) team.

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