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Available Expert - Cassini mission leaves lasting legacy after 20-year exploration of Saturn

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Queen's University astronomer Nathalie Ouellette is available to comment in advance of and in reaction to the final moments of the 20-year Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. The spacecraft is scheduled to plummet toward the giant gas planet on Friday, September 15 at approximately 7 a.m. EDT, as its fuel reserves finally run out.

“Over the last 13 years, the Cassini-Huygens mission has broadened our horizons of what we know about our solar system. It has given us clues on how planets may have formed, whether ocean worlds such as its moon Enceladus may harbour life, and revealed just how complex its breathtaking ring system truly is,” says Dr. Ouellette. “Astronomers from around the world will listen to its last few beeps and reflect on Cassini's lasting legacy which will carry us into the next generation of space missions such as the Europa Clipper.”

Dr. Ouellette is the Communications, Education & Outreach Officer for the new Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC) in the Queen's Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Her doctoral dissertation surveyed the Virgo Cluster Galaxies, and her research focus consists of galaxies and space outside of our own solar system.

Note: Dr. Ouellette has availability on Thursday in advance of Friday’s mission conclusion (except between 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.), and available after 2 p.m. on Friday for comment following its conclusion.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Dave Rideout (613-533-6000 ext. 79648, 613.453.5676, or dave.rideout@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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