Officials at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California, announce that the Cassini spacecraft will be carrying out a double flyby over the course of 36 hours, starting on December 12. Within this time frame, the probe will see both Dione and Titan.
The Dione flyby will occur first, and will take the NASA spacecraft to an altitude of roughly 61 mile (99 kilometers) from the small moon's surface. This will be the closest flyby of Dione Cassini ever conducted. The point of closest approach will be reached at 0939 GMT, on Monday.
Cassini will then move away towards Titan, which it will observe from a minimum altitude of 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometer). The point of closest approach will be reached on December 13, at around 2011 GMT, mission controllers say.
Cassini has been surveying Saturn, its ring systems and its moons since achieving orbital insertion around the gas giant, on July 1, 2004. The mission is managed by the JPL for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, in Washington, DC.