Motivation & Goals

In-situ measurements carried out during the Cassini’s Grand Finale orbits provided the first direct evidence about the long-speculated ring-planet interactions at Saturn. In addition to the infall of ring material towards Saturn, i.e., the so-called “ring rain” phenomenon, large-scale electromagnetic connections between Saturn’s rings and its ionosphere have also been suggested with the initial analysis of the Cassini Grand Finale measurements. Here we propose to address the major open issues about the ring-planet interactions at Saturn and other planetary systems.

The goals of the Ring-Planet Interactions team are to:

  • Conduct multi-instrument data analyses for the Cassini Grand Finale dataset to provide a comprehensive view of the global connection between Saturn and its rings
  • Address the implications on the origin and evolution of Saturn’s main rings
  • Generalize the understanding about ring-planet interactions and extrapolate to other giant planet systems