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Planetary RadioAugust 23, 2017

Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker’s Last Appearance Before the Grand Finale

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Linda Spilker
Linda Spilker

Cassini Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

It’s the Grandest Finale. The spectacular Cassini mission’s exploration of Saturn will end on September 15th when the spacecraft plunges into the planet. Cassini Project Scientist Linda Spilker is back with one last mission update. Mat also announces a live Cassini celebration on the evening of September 18, 2017. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan are back from the Great American Eclipse’s path of totality with another What’s Up segment and a new space trivia contest that features the eclipse.

Cassini makes the plunge

NASA / JPL-Caltech

Cassini makes the plunge
NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunges toward the gap between Saturn and its rings.

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Trivia Contest

This week's prizes are the brand new Chop Shop-designed Planetary Radio t-shirt, a 200-point astronomy account, and a 2017 Great American Eclipse commemorative shot glass.

This week's question:

To within a minute, what is the longest possible time of totality for a solar eclipse seen from Earth?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at no later than Wednesday, August 30th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

What is the funny word used when three celestial bodies are lined up, as in an eclipse? It’s not “stooges.”


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

When is the next total solar eclipse on Earth after the one on August 21, 2017?


The next total solar eclipse will be on July 2, 2019, and will cross Argentina and Chile.

Listen more: Cassini, mission status, solar eclipse, Saturn, Saturn's rings

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