Posts Tagged: Hsiang-Wen Hsu

In its final days, Cassini bathed in “ring rain”

On its last orbits in 2017, the long-running Cassini spacecraft dove between Saturn’s rings and its upper atmosphere and bathed in a downpour of dust that astronomers call “ring rain.”

In research published today in Science, LASP research associate Hsiang-Wen (Sean) Hsu and his colleagues report that they successfully collected microscopic material streaming from the planet’s rings.

The findings, which were made with Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer and Radio and Plasma Wave Science instruments, come a little more than a year after the spacecraft burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere. They stem from the mission’s “grand finale,” in which Cassini completed a series of risky maneuvers to zip under the planet’s rings at speeds of 75,000 miles per hour.