Cda Science Today and in Cassini's Final Three Years

Monday, 15 December 2014: 12:05 PM
Ralf Srama, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
Today, the German-lead Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) is operated continuously for 10 years in orbit around Saturn. The first discovery of CDA related to Saturn was the measurement of nanometer sized dust particles ejected by to interplanetary space with speeds higher than 100 km/s. Their origin and composition was analysed and and their dynamical studies showed a strong link to the conditions of the solar wind plasma flow. A recent surprising result was, that stream particles stem from the interior of Enceladus. Since 2004 CDA measured millions of dust impacts characterizing the dust environment of Saturn. The instrument showed strong evidence for ice geysers located at the south pole of Saturn‘s moon Enceladus in 2005. Later, a detailed compositional analysis of the salt-rich water ice grains in Saturn‘s E ring system lead to the discovery of liquid water below the icy crust connected to an ocean at depth feeding the icy jets. CDA was even capable to derive a spatially resolved compositional profile of the plume during close Enceladus flybys. A determination of the dust-magnetosphere interaction and the discovery of the extended E ring allowed the definition of a dynamical dust model of Saturn’s E ring describing the observed properties. The measured dust density profiles in the dense E ring revealed geometric asymmetries.
In the final three years CDA performs exogenous and interstellar dust campaigns, studies of the composition and origin of Saturn's main rings by unique ring ejecta measurements, long-duration nano-dust stream observations, high-resolution maps of small moon orbit crossings, studies of the dust cloud around Dione and studies of the E-ring interaction with the large moon Titan.