Cassini ready for today’s icy plunge into Enceladus plume

Dramatic jets of ice, water vapor and organic compounds spray from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus in this image captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in November 2009. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Dramatic jets of ice, water vapor and organic compounds spray from the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus in this image captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in November 2009. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

While you’re getting ready to go to work today, Cassini is already hard at work, lining up and taking aim at one of Enceladus’ icy plumes coming from the moon’s ice-encrusted ocean.

At 11:22 a.m. EDT, the spacecraft will perform a maneuver taking it to an altitude of 30 miles above the moon’s south polar region where it will then begin searching for hydrothermal activity, and how that activity might impact the ocean’s potential habitability for simple forms of life.

I’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about today’s historic flyby: facts, videos, infographic, and teachable moments.

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