Cassini’s Final Hours by the Numbers – D-brief


The Cassini probe has given us a spectacular view of the Saturn system over the 13 years it’s been there. In that time, it’s opened up untold wonders of our second-largest planet and its 62 spectacular moons. Here are a few big-to-small numbers to know as Cassini prepares for self-destruction:

4.9 billion miles: the total distance traversed by Cassini in the Saturn system since 2004

635 gigabytes: the total volume of data sent back by Cassini

615 watts: the amount of power Cassini currently produces

512 kilobytes: the amount of onboard storage capacity on Cassini

294: the number of times Cassini flew by Titan and received a gravity boost, including a few skims through the upper atmosphere

Plutonium 238: Cassini’s power source

24: approximate number of moons visited by Cassini (out of 62)

19 years, 1 month: Cassini’s total time in space, from launch until end of mission

14 hours: the time between the last image from Cassini and its crash

13 years: the time Cassini has spent at Saturn

6: the number of moons discovered by Cassini

4:55 a.m. PDT: when Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere and begin to break up

2 minutes: the amount of time it will take Saturn to rip Cassini apart

1 hour, 23 minutes: the time it takes for a signal from Cassini to reach Earth due to the vast distance between us and Saturn

1 megapixel: the resolution of Cassini’s camera

1 in a million: the chance that a fuel-less, ill-controlled Cassini might have smashed into Enceladus and potentially contaminated it

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