The Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) will make comprehensive three-dimensional mass-resolved measurements of the full variety of plasma phenomena found in Saturn’s magnetosphere. Our fundamental scientific goals are to understand the nature of saturnian plasmas primarily their sources of ionization, and the means by which they are accelerated, transported, and lost. In so doing the CAPS investigation will contribute to understanding Saturn’s magnetosphere and its complex interactions with Titan, the icy satellites and rings, Saturn’s ionosphere and aurora, and the solar wind. Our design approach meets these goals by emphasizing two complementary types of measurements: high-time resolution velocity distributions of electrons and all major ion species; and lower-time resolution, high-mass resolution spectra of all ion species. The CAPS instrument is made up of three sensors: the Electron Spectrometer (ELS), the Ion Beam Spectrometer (IBS), and the Ion Mass Spectrometer (IMS). The ELS measures the velocity distribution of electrons from 0.6 eV to 28,250 keV, a range that permits coverage of thermal electrons found at Titan and near the ring plane as well as more energetic trapped electrons and auroral particles. The IBS measures ion velocity distributions with very high angular and energy resolution from 1 eV to 49,800 keV. It is specially designed to measure sharply defined ion beams expected in the solar wind at 9.5 AU, highly directional rammed ion fluxes encountered in Titan’s ionosphere, and anticipated field-aligned auroral fluxes. The IMS is designed to measure the composition of hot, diffuse magnetospheric plasmas and low-concentration ion species 1 eV to 50,280 eV with an atomic resolution M/ΔM ∼70 and, for certain molecules, (such asN 2 + and CO+), effective resolution as high as ∼2500. The three sensors are mounted on a motor-driven actuator that rotates the entire instrument over approximately one-half of the sky every 3 min.
Saturn's moon Enceladus has an ice-covered ocean; a plume of material erupts from cracks in the ice. The plume contains chemical signatures of water-rock interaction between the ocean and a rocky core. We used the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer onboard the Cassini spacecraft to detect molecular hydrogen in the plume. By using the instrument's open-source mode, background processes of hydrogen production in the instrument were minimized and quantified, enabling the identification of a statistically significant signal of hydrogen native to Enceladus. We find that the most plausible source of this hydrogen is ongoing hydrothermal reactions of rock containing reduced minerals and organic materials. The relatively high hydrogen abundance in the plume signals thermodynamic disequilibrium that favors the formation of methane from CO2 in Enceladus' ocean.
The spacecraftrevealed the chaotic dynamics that shape Saturn's rings, found geysers spraying from the moon Enceladus and watched gigantic storms roil the planet's atmosphere. Cassini also made history when it released the Huygens probe, which became the first craftto touch down in the outer Solar System. Planetary scientists are already plotting return missions to fly through Enceladus's plumes and snifffor hints of life.\ THE EVER-CHANGING RINGS Saturn's rings - the planet's most iconic feature - are populated by billions of icy particles. Mission scientists are still working to determine how long a Saturnian day is. Because the planet has no solid surface, researchers cannot track a fixed feature to measure its rotation rate.
The dual technique magnetometer system onboard the Cassini orbiter is described. This instrument consists of vector helium and fluxgate magnetometers with the capability to operate the helium device in a scalar mode. This special mode is used near the planet in order to determine with very high accuracy the interior field of the planet. The orbital mission will lead to a detailed understanding of the Saturn/Titan system including measurements of the planetary magnetosphere, and the interactions of Saturn with the solar wind, of Titan with its environments, and of the icy satellites within the magnetosphere.
We present numerically derived orbits and mass estimates for the inner Saturnian satellites, Atlas, Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, and Epimetheus from a fit to 2580 new Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem astrometric observations spanning 2004 February to 2013 August. The observations are provided as machine-readable and Virtual Observatory tables. We estimate GM(Atlas) = (0.384 +/- 0.001) x 10(-3) km(3) s(-2), a value 13% smaller than the previously published estimate but with an order of magnitude reduction in the uncertainty. We also find GM(Prometheus) = (10.677 +/- 0.006) x 10(-3) km(3) s(-2), GM(Pandora) = (9.133 +/- 0.009) x 10(-3) km(3) s(-2), GM(Janus) = (126.51 +/- 0.03) x 10(-3) km(3) s(-2), and GM(Epimetheus) = (35.110 +/- 0.009) x 10(-3) km(3) s(-2), consistent with previously published values, but also with significant reductions in uncertainties. We show that Atlas is currently librating in both the 54:53 co-rotation-eccentricity resonance (CER) and the 54:53 inner Lindblad (ILR) resonance with Prometheus, making it the latest example of a coupled CER-ILR system, in common with the Saturnian satellites Anthe, Aegaeon, and Methone, and possibly Neptune's ring arcs. We further demonstrate that Atlas's orbit is chaotic, with a Lyapunov time of similar to 10 years, and show that its chaotic behavior is a direct consequence of the coupled resonant interaction with Prometheus, rather than being an indirect effect of the known chaotic interaction between Prometheus and Pandora. We provide an updated analysis of the second-order resonant perturbations involving Prometheus, Pandora, and Epimetheus based on the new observations, showing that these resonant arguments are librating only when Epimetheus is the innermost of the co-orbital pair, Janus and Epimetheus. We also find evidence that the known chaotic changes in the orbits of Prometheus and Pandora are not confined to times of apse anti-alignment.
The Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn carries the composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) designed to study thermal emission from Saturn and its rings and moons. CIRS, a Fourier transform spectrometer, is an indispensable part of the payload providing unique measurements and important synergies with the other instruments. It takes full advantage of Cassini's 13-year-long mission and surpasses the capabilities of previous spectrometers on Voyager 1 and 2. The instrument, consisting of two interferometers sharing a telescope and a scan mechanism, covers over a factor of 100 in wavelength in the mid and far infrared. It is used to study temperature, composition, structure, and dynamics of the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and Titan, the rings of Saturn, and surfaces of the icy moons. CIRS has returned a large volume of scientific results, the culmination of over 30 years of instrument development, operation, data calibration, and analysis. As Cassini and CIRS reach the end of their mission in 2017, we expect that archived spectra will be used by scientists for many years to come. (C) 2017 Optical Society of America
This study is a companion paper to Baillie et al., in which we showed that a past episode of inward migration of Mimas could have created the Cassini Division. We here investigate the possible causes of this inward migration. We suggest two scenarios: one based on a past intense heating of Mimas, and another one on a past intense heating of Enceladus, which would have itself driven an inward migration of Mimas due to a mean-motion resonance. These two scenarios are challenged with numerical modelling of the orbital motion of the satellites, and energy budget, which are confronted to our present knowledge of the interior of Mimas and Enceladus. We show that a past hot Mimas requires an eccentricity of 0.22, while a past hot Enceladus would have needed an eccentricity of 0.25. While the scenario of a past hot Mimas preserves the stability of the mid-sized satellites of Saturn, it threatens Janus and Epimetheus and is inconsistent with the observations of impact basins at the surface of Mimas. However, a past hot Enceladus which would have almost fully melted could be consistent with its differentiated interior, but would probably not have preserved the stability of Tethys, given the high eccentricity required. Both of these scenarios would have challenged the stability of Aegaeon, Methone, Pallene, and Anthe, and implied that the Cassini Division would be younger than 10 Myr.
The Cassini-Huygens Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) is intended to provide direct observations of dust grains with masses between 10−19 and 10−9 kg in interplanetary space and in the jovian and saturnian systems, to investigate their physical, chemical and dynamical properties as functions of the distances to the Sun, to Jupiter and to Saturn and its satellites and rings, to study their interaction with the saturnian rings, satellites and magnetosphere. Chemical composition of interplanetary meteoroids will be compared with asteroidal and cometary dust, as well as with Saturn dust, ejecta from rings and satellites. Ring and satellites phenomena which might be effects of meteoroid impacts will be compared with the interplanetary dust environment. Electrical charges of particulate matter in the magnetosphere and its consequences will be studied, e.g. the effects of the ambient plasma and the magnetic field on the trajectories of dust particles as well as fragmentation of particles due to electrostatic disruption.The investigation will be performed with an instrument that measures the mass, composition, electric charge, speed, and flight direction of individual dust particles. It is a highly reliable and versatile instrument with a mass sensitivity 106 times higher than that of the Pioneer 10 and 11 dust detectors which measured dust in the saturnian system. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer has significant inheritance from former space instrumentation developed for the VEGA, Giotto, Galileo, and Ulysses missions. It will reliably measure impacts from as low as 1 impact per month up to 104 impacts per second. The instrument weighs 17 kg and consumes 12 W, the integrated time-of-flight mass spectrometer has a mass resolution of up to 50. The nominal data transmission rate is 524 bits/s and varies between 50 and 4192 bps.