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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: December 2018

14 - The Future Exploration of Saturn


Despite the lack of another Flagship-class mission such as Cassini–Huygens, prospects for the future exploration of Saturn are nevertheless encouraging. Both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are exploring the possibilities of focused interplanetary missions (1) to drop one or more in situ atmospheric entry probes into Saturn and (2) to explore the satellites Titan and Enceladus, which would provide opportunities for both in situ investigations of Saturn’s magnetosphere and detailed remote-sensing observations of Saturn’s atmosphere. Additionally, a new generation of powerful Earth-based and near-Earth telescopes with advanced instrumentation spanning the ultraviolet to the far-infrared promise to provide systematic observations of Saturn’s seasonally changing composition and thermal structure, cloud structures and wind fields. Finally, new advances in amateur telescopic observations brought on largely by the availability of low-cost, powerful computers, low-noise, large-format cameras, and attendant sophisticated software promise to provide regular, longterm observations of Saturn in remarkable detail.