The spacecraft was launched in 1997 and reached the planet Saturn in 2004. The Cassini part of the spacecraft has been in orbit for almost 13 years, returning invaluable information about the planet, its rings and moons. In particular Cassini’s cameras have returned more than 300,000 images of the Saturn system. In November 2016 the spacecraft has entered a series of highly inclined orbits providing spectacular views of the rings and close-up images of several moons. Between April and September 2017 the spacecraft will cross Saturn’s D ring on a regular basis before finally entering the planet’s atmosphere on 15 September 2017. The talk will give a brief outline of the Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn system before concentrating on some recent results from the final phase of this ground-breaking planetary mission.
Carl obtained his BSc in Applied Mathematics with Astrophysics from Queen Mary College (Univ. of London) in 1977 and stayed on at Queen Mary to do his PhD entitled “Aspects of the Dynamical Evolution of Small Particles in the Solar System”. At the end of 1979 he started work as a postdoc at Cornell University, one of the major centres for planetary science in the USA. He returned to Queen Mary in 1982 and has remained there ever since. Currently he is Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy in the Astronomy Unit which is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy.
He has been involved in the Cassini mission since 1990 when he was selected as a member of the Imaging Science Subsystem team on the spacecraft. Carl is also a Science Associate on the JANUS camera team for ESA’s JUICE mission to Jupiter and Europa. He is a planetary scientist who has a particular interest in the motion of objects in the solar system, from dust to planets.