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NASA spacecraft to photograph Saturn's moons

NASA has announced its plan to capture closer images of the two moons of Saturn through its spacecraft next week.

world Updated: Apr 03, 2010 20:11 IST

NASA has announced its plan to capture closer images of the two moons of Saturn through its spacecraft next week.

The spacecraft Cassini will have a closer look at Saturn's moons Dione and Titan, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.

The Titan fly-by, planned for Monday, will take Cassini to within 7,500 km of the moon's surface to enable the spacecraft's camera to peer through Titan's haze-shrouded atmosphere, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a release Friday.

Wednesday, Cassini is to take another fly-by over Dione by plunging to within 500 km of the moon's surface, the release said.

The twin fly-bys combine to last a day and a half, Xinhua reported.

Space scientists hope the fly-by over Titan would enable the capture of high-resolution pictures of the Belet and Senkyo areas on Titan's surface, darker regions around the equator that ripple with sand dunes.

It will be Cassini's second close encounter with Dione. The previous fly-by took place in October 2005.

Cassini will use its magnetometer and fields and particles instruments to see if it can find evidence of activity at Dione, according to the laboratory.