Cassini at Saturn: Science Today and in the Final Three Years

Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:05 AM
Tamas I Gombosi, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States; Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Cassini is about to enter the last phase of the mission, the “Grand Finale.” Starting in late 2016, the spacecraft will begin a set of orbits that is, in some ways, like a whole new mission. The spacecraft will repeatedly climb high above Saturn's north pole, flying just outside its narrow F ring. Cassini will probe the water-rich plume of the active geysers on the planet's intriguing moon Enceladus, and then will hop the rings and dive between the planet and innermost ring 22 times. During the Grand Finale we will directly measure particle composition and radiation belt properties between the rings and Saturn, determine the length of Saturn’s day, and directly study system-wide magnetospheric coupling.

This talk will focus on the most important aspects of Saturn's magnetosphere and outline some of the expected new scientific results.