As many of you know, I work on the Cassini mission as an operations engineer and have done for over a decade.
Tomorrow is the spacecraft’s final close flyby (T126) of Saturn’s moon Titan.
Just to put this into perspective for you, this may be the last time in decades
that we get anywhere near Titan. There are no missions to Saturn or its most interesting* moons, Titan and Enceladus, currently funded or being built. That means there’s a minimum of ten years before a new mission could be launched. Given that the transit time to Saturn is, at a minimum, seven years and on average more like ten, that’s two decades until we can repeat Cassini’s observations.
Cassini’s impending demise makes me sad, of course, but what bothers me even more is the lack of continuity in our exploration of our solar system.
You can read the details of tomorrow’s Cassini’s observations on the NASA-JPL press release here
. It includes an animation of the flyby over the surface, from the perspective of the spacecraft.* “most interesting” being ever so slightly subjective, of course