points out recent news that the Cassini probe has completed its original four-year mission and is beginning a two-year extended mission
, which was authorized earlier this year. Cassini's first mission
brought us a treasure trove of information about Saturn
and its various moons
. The new mission will target two of those moons in particular for further study: Titan and Enceladus. Quoting:
"The spacecraft is extremely healthy and carries 12 instruments powered by three radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Data from Cassini's nominal and extended missions could lay the groundwork for possible future missions to Saturn, Titan or Enceladus. [The two moons] are primary targets in the two-year extended mission, dubbed the Cassini Equinox Mission. This time period also will allow for monitoring seasonal effects on Titan and Saturn, exploring new places within Saturn's magnetosphere, and observing the unique ring geometry of the Saturn equinox in August of 2009 when sunlight will pass directly through the plane of the rings."