TrekMovie.com has ‘adopted’ the NASA Cassini mission, something near and dear to the heart of Star Trek’s science advisor Caroline Porco. Today Cassini is in progress of making an unprecedented “in your face” flyby of Saturn’s geyser-spewing moon Enceladus in order to gather key data. More details on how you can keep up with today’s event below.
The Cassini spacecraft, orchestrating its closest approach to Enceladus to date, will skirt along the edges of huge Old-Faithful-like geysers erupting from giant fractures on the moon’s south pole. Cassini will sample water-ice, dust and gas in the plume. Analysis of the data may eventually provide clues as to whether or not the moon could harbor life.
Cassini mission scientists have been kind enough to blog along as the events are taking place, so that we may get the most up to date information coming from the spacecraft. At this point, the mission specs and trajectories have all been input into the spacecraft’s computer. Now, all there is to do is cross our fingers and wait as the flyby takes place. “The next time we hear from Cassini will be tonight after the flyby at around 7 p.m. Pacific,” says Cassini Scientist Amanda Hendrix, “while flying through the plume we will be 120 miles from the surface. So we’re “dipping our toes” in the plume a little more than we’ve done before!”