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The Saturn Ring Skimmer Mission Concept: The next step to explore Saturn's rings, atmosphere, interior and inner magnetosphere

Tiscareno, Matthew S. and Vaquero, Mar and Hedman, Matthew M. and Cao, Hao and Estrada, Paul R. and Ingersoll, Andrew P. and Miller, Kelly E. and Parisi, Marzia and Atkinson, David H. and Brooks, Shawn M. and Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. and Fuller, James and Hendrix, Amanda R. and Johnson, Robert E. and Koskinen, Tommi and Kurth, William S. and Lunine, Jonathan I. and Nicholson, Philip D. and Paty, Carol S. and Schindhelm, Rebecca and Showalter, Mark R. and Spilker, Linda J. and Strange, Nathan J. and Tseng, Wendy (2020) The Saturn Ring Skimmer Mission Concept: The next step to explore Saturn's rings, atmosphere, interior and inner magnetosphere. 2023 Planetary Science Decadal Survey, . (Unpublished)

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The innovative Saturn Ring Skimmer mission concept enables a wide range of investigations that address fundamental questions about Saturn and its rings, as well as giant planets and astrophysical disk systems in general. This mission would provide new insights into the dynamical processes that operate in astrophysical disk systems by observing individual particles in Saturn's rings for the first time. The Ring Skimmer would also constrain the origin, history, and fate of Saturn's rings by determining their compositional evolution and material transport rates. In addition, the Ring Skimmer would reveal how the rings, magnetosphere, and planet operate as an inter-connected system by making direct measurements of the ring's atmosphere, Saturn's inner magnetosphere and the material owing from the rings into the planet. At the same time, this mission would clarify the dynamical processes operating in the planet's visible atmosphere and deep interior by making extensive high-resolution observations of cloud features and repeated measurements of the planet's extremely dynamic gravitational field. Given the scientific potential of this basic mission concept, we advocate that it be studied in depth as a potential option for the New Frontiers program.

Item Type:Report or Paper (White Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Cao, Hao0000-0002-6917-8363
Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Fuller, James0000-0002-4544-0750
Lunine, Jonathan I.0000-0003-2279-4131
Nicholson, Philip D.0000-0003-2275-4463
Additional Information:A white paper to be submitted to the 2023 Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Series Name:2023 Planetary Science Decadal Survey
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200916-112953100
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105429
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:16 Sep 2020 20:54
Last Modified:16 Sep 2020 20:54

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