Passage through the Ring Plane
Photojournal: PIA06061
Published: December 17, 2004

Passage through the Ring Plane

June 3, 2004

Full-Res: PIA06061

The path that lies ahead for the Cassini-Huygens mission is indicated in this image which illustrates where the spacecraft will be just 27 days from now, when it arrives at Saturn and crosses the ring plane 33 minutes before performing its critical orbital insertion maneuver.

The image was taken on May 11, 2004 when the spacecraft was 26.3 million kilometers (16.3 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 158 kilometers (98 miles) per pixel. Moons visible in this image: Janus (181 kilometers or 113 miles across), one of the co-orbital moons; Pandora (84 kilometers or 52 miles across), one of the F ring shepherding moons; and Enceladus (499 kilometers or 310 miles across), a moon which may be heated from within and thus have a liquid sub-surface ocean.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, and the Cassini imaging team home page, .

Image Credit:

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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