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Cassini-Huygens is the fourth spacecraft to visit the planet Saturn, following Pioneer 11 (1979), Voyager 1 (1980), and Voyager 2 (1981). It is also the first to be placed in orbit around Saturn. The spacecraft consists of two primary components: (1) The Cassini spacecraft, designed to orbit Saturn; and (2) the Huygens probe, designed to be dropped into the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon Titan and land on its surface.

Launched in 1997, Cassini-Huygens began its journey with gravitational assist flybys of the planets Venus (1998 and 1999), Earth (1999), and Jupiter (2000). It arrived at Saturn and was placed into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. The Huygens probe detached from Cassini on Christmas Day 2004, and descended through Titan's atmosphere to the ground three weeks later, on January 14, 2005. Since that time, Cassini spaceraft has continued orbiting Saturn, collecting data on the planet Saturn, its rings, its moons, and its magnetosphere.


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Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS)

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