Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Professor Gombosi Discusses New Cassini Findings

Posted: June 4, 2012

Professor Gombosi Discusses New Cassini Findings

AOSS Professor Tamas Gombosi discussed NASA’s Cassini mission in a recent report from Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Findings from Cassini reveal that Saturn's geyser moon Enceladus provides a special laboratory for watching unusual behavior of plasma, or hot ionized gas. In these findings, some Cassini scientists think they have observed "dusty plasma," a condition theorized but not previously observed on site, near Enceladus.
“These are truly exciting discoveries for plasma science," said Gombosi. "Cassini is providing us with a new plasma physics laboratory."

Data from Cassini's fields and particles instruments also show that the usual "heavy" and "light" species of charged particles in normal plasma are actually reversed near the plume spraying from the moon's south polar region.
Cassini will continue to study the complex nature of the plume region in three planned additional flybys of Enceladus.
To learn more, visit the Cassini mission news site.

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