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Cassini flew within 500 km of Dione.

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Cassini flew within 500 km (310 miles) of the surface of Dione.

Future Space Missions Will Explore at Many Levels.

Researchers at the University of Arizona think that future robotic explorers should have the ability to survey their targets at many different levels: from orbit, in the air, and on the ground. These next generation missions would be able to arrive in orbit and then deploy a blimp or balloon that could create a more detailed map of a planet or moon's surface. The balloon could help coordinate ground rovers to analyze the most interesting targets. The rovers and balloons would relay their data up to the orbiter which could then give new targets to explore.

Cassini's Closeup View of Dione.

On October 11, 2005, Cassini flew within 500 km (310 miles) of the surface of Dione; one of Saturn's moons. Like many of Saturn's moons, Dione shows a heavily cratered surface, and unusual streaks in the terrain that dominates one whole hemisphere of the moon. Cassini found evidence that Dione's surface is covered by fractures, which run in roughly parallel lines; these are interrupted by larger bright features. scientists are working with the data to compositional maps of Dione's surface.

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