During its mission, Cassini, a spacecraft sent by NASA, was able to make a 5th flyby of one of Saturn's many moons and give some insight through high resolution images and region mapping.
A few days ago, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft completed it’s fifth flyby of one of Saturn’s many moons, Dione.
On Monday afternoon, around 2:33 pm, the probe passed by at a distance of 295 miles from the surface of the moon. Astonishingly close but not as close at the probe has come to the moon. In 2011, the probe passed by even closer to the surface.
According to the mission controllers, when the probe made the pass by the moon, both the cameras and the spectrometers were active, allowing the spacecraft to take high resolution images of the moons north pole. This is expected to assist the scientists in better understanding of the internal structure of Dione.
In addition to utilizing the high resolution images made available by Cassini, the probe was also able to use the Composite Infrared Spectrometer to map the regions of the icy moon.
With this new information, scientists are hoping to reveal more about the geologic activity that happens. They’re hoping that the activity resembles another of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
“Dione has been an enigma, giving hints of active geologic processes, including a transient atmosphere and evidence of ice volcanoes. But we’ve never found the smoking gun. The fifth flyby of Dione will be our last chance”, said Bonnie Buratti, one of the Cassini science team members that operate out of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
In order to prepare itself for the missions final phase, Cassini is expected to make more flybys of Titan and Enceladus, both moons of Saturn, and then leave the planets equatorial plane.