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Cassini by the numbers: 13 years exploring Saturn

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Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 11:32 PM - NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been exploring Saturn for nearly 13 years now, and during that time, it has racked up some impressive discoveries and milestones. Here is Cassini by the numbers.

2: the number of oceans Cassini has discovered - one on Titan and one inside Enceladus.

6: the number of named moons Cassini has added to Saturn's roster of satellites. Currently, we know that Saturn has a total of 53 confirmed moons, and six of those - Methone (2004), Pallene (2004), Polydeuces (2004), Daphnis (2005), Anthe (2007) and Aegaeon (2009) - weren't even known about until Cassini arrived and spotted them.


Top row, left to right: Methone, Pallene and Polydeuces. Bottom row, left to right: Daphnis, Anthe and Aegaeon. Images are not to scale. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Scott Sutherland

8: the number of provisional moons Cassini has spotted. These only await confirmation and naming before they become official. As of now, these tiny satellites are only know by their code names.

162: Targeted moon flybys, including 127 for Titan, and 23 for Enceladus


Titan (left) and Enceladus (right). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Scott Sutherland

294: Saturn orbits completed at end of mission

360: the number of engine burns during the mission, including 183 main engine burns.

635: gigabytes of science data collected by the spacecraft.


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

3,948: science papers published using Cassini data.

453,048: images taken.

2.5 million: commands executed over the course of the mission.

1.43 billion: the average distance, in kilometres, between Earth and Saturn.

7.8 billion: The total number of kilometres Cassini will have travelled by mission end, including the 3.4 billion km it travelled to reach Saturn from Earth, the 1.9 billion km it has traversed in orbits around Saturn, and the 2.5 billion km it has travelled along with Saturn, as the planet orbits the Sun.


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sources: NASA | NASA JPL

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