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Start of the Cassini Equinox Mission

June 30 2008 marks the end of the four-year primary mission for the Cassini spacecraft and the start of the extended mission. Approval for the two-year extension, called the Cassini Equinox Mission, was announced by NASA in April 2008.

The mission extension builds upon the success of the primary mission. Some key scientific objectives of this extended mission are :
  • to study in more detail the Saturnian moons, in particular Titan and Enceladus;
  • to monitor seasonal effects on Titan and Saturn;
  • to explore new regions of the Saturnian magnetosphere;
  • to observe the unique ring geometry of the Saturn equinox in August 2009 - when sunlight will pass directly through the plane of the rings.
Cassini-Huygens is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI mission to explore Saturn, Titan and the other moons of the Saturnian system. The mission has two distinct elements: the Cassini orbiter and the Huygens probe, the latter provided by ESA.

Source : ESA Science Cassini-Huygens homepage

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