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Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS)

NSSDCA ID: 1997-061A-07

Mission Name: Cassini
Principal Investigator:Prof. Donald A. Gurnett


The Radio and Plasma Wave System (RPWS) on Cassini is designed to study radio and plasma wave phemonena. These include observations of radio emissions, plasma waves, lightning, and dust impacts as well as measurements of plasma densities and temperatures. These studies will be conducted during the entire mission, including observations of the terrestrial, Jovian, and Saturnian magnetospheres, the ionospheres of Venus and Titan, the solar wind, and the environment near asteroids.

Measurements of plasma waves will be made with a pair of orthogonal 10 m antennas similar to those on Voyager. These will enable the measurement of both low- and high-frequency plasma waves (1 Hz-16 MHz) and be capable of providing wave polarization and arrival direction information. A pair of tri-axial search coil magnetic field antennas, covering frequencies between 1 Hz-12.6 kHz, will provide precise measurements of general spectral characteristics, wave amplitudes, and rapid variations in frequency-time characteristics. Use of these two sets of antennas will also permit the simultaneous measurement of electric and magnetic fields. Electron densities and temperatures will be measured utilizing a dedicated Langmuir probe.

Alternate Names

  • Cassini/RPWS
  • RPWS

Facts in Brief

Mass: 6.8 kg
Power (avg): 7 W
Bit rate (avg): 0.9 kbps

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Fields and Particles
  • Space Physics: Heliospheric Studies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Arne PedersenCo-InvestigatorESA-European Space Research and Technology
Mr. Michael L. KaiserCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Les J.C. WoolliscroftCo-InvestigatorUniversity of Sheffield
Prof. Rolf BostromCo-InvestigatorSwedish Institute for Space
Dr. Paul J. KelloggCo-InvestigatorUniversity of
Dr. Christopher C. HarveyCo-InvestigatorObservatoire de Paris,
Dr. Georg GustafssonCo-InvestigatorSwedish Institute for Space
Dr. Nicole Cornilleau-WehrlinCo-InvestigatorCNRS-Centre de Recherches en Physique de l'Environment Terrestre et
Dr. Alain RouxCo-InvestigatorCNRS-Centre de Recherches en Physique de l'Environment Terrestre et
Dr. Michael D. DeschCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Helmut O. RuckerCo-InvestigatorAustrian Academy of
Dr. Keith A. GoetzCo-InvestigatorUniversity of
Dr. Patrick CanuCo-InvestigatorCNRS-Centre de Recherches en Physique de l'Environment Terrestre et
Dr. Philippe M. ZarkaCo-InvestigatorObservatoire de Paris,
Dr. Alain LecacheuxCo-InvestigatorObservatoire de Paris,
Dr. Philippe LouarnCo-InvestigatorCNRS-Centre de Recherches en Physique de l'Environment Terrestre et
Dr. Jan-Erik WahlundCo-InvestigatorSwedish Institute for Space
Dr. Patrick GalopeauCo-InvestigatorObservatoire de Paris,
Dr. Peter LadreiterCo-InvestigatorAustrian Academy of
Dr. William M. FarrellCo-InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. William S. KurthDeputy Principal InvestigatorUniversity of
Prof. Donald A. GurnettPrincipal InvestigatorUniversity of Iowa

Selected References

  • Gurnett, D. A., et al., The Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation, Space Sci. Rev., 114, 395-463, doi:10.1007/s11214-004-1434-0, 2004.
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