Talk about Cassini’s most exciting science to space engineering students

Dr Phil Sutton

Today I visited Loughborough College to give a talk about some of the most exciting discoveries made by the Cassini spacecraft to students studying for a Level 3 BTEC in Space Engineering Course.

Earth based telescopes can only reveal large scale structures in the rings and the largest moons around Saturn. It wasn’t until 2004 when the spacecraft first began its mission orbiting Saturn that many new moons were found, the fine structure they create in the rings and direct collisions between moons and the rings were observed.

Moons in the rings create vertical waves due to gravitational forces.

Moons found inside the rings create vertical waves due to gravitational forces.

F_ring_minijets

Small moonlets in the F ring creating jets as they collide through the narrow ring.

image_1855e-Peggy-Moon.jpg

A new moon was seen to migrate to the outer edge of the A ring while Cassini was there.

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