• Molecules including methanol, ethane, and oxygen are present in gaseous plumes emitted from Saturn’s moon Enceladus, a re-analysis of data from the Cassini mission suggests.
  • Analyses of data from Cassini’s Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) collected during flybys in 2011 and 2012 determined the presence of water, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and molecular hydrogen in the samples.

About Cassini mission

  • Cassini was one of the most ambitious efforts ever mounted in planetary exploration. A joint endeavour of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and the Italian space agency (ASI).
  • Cassini was a sophisticated robotic spacecraft sent to study Saturn and its complex system of rings and moons in unprecedented detail.
  • Cassini carried a probe called Huygens to the Saturn system.
  • The probe, which was built by ESA, parachuted to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in January 2005—the most distant landing to date in our solar system.

Mission Science Objectives

  • Saturn—Study cloud properties and atmospheric composition, winds and temperatures, internal structure and rotation, ionosphere, origin, and evolution
  • Rings—Observe their structure and composition, dynamical processes, interrelation of rings and satellites, dust and micrometeoroid environment
  • Titan—Study abundances of atmospheric constituents, distribution of trace gases and aerosols, winds and temperatures, composition and state of the surface, and upper atmosphere
  • Icy Satellites—Determine their characteristics and geological histories; study mechanisms of surface modification, surface composition and distribution, overall composition and internal structure, and their interactions with Saturn’s magnetosphere
  • Saturn’s Magnetosphere—Study its structure and electric currents; composition, sources, and sinks of particles within it; dynamics; interaction with the solar wind, satellites, and rings; Titan’s interaction with solar wind and magnetosphere.


  • It is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn (19th largest in the Solar System).
  • It is about a tenth of that of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
  • It is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the Solar System.

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