QUOTE (edstrick @ Sep 22 2007, 09:53 AM)
Random note: At the moment of solar ring plane crossing (which given the presence of ring-warp, and the 3 arc-min solar diameter, is a somewhat extended moment), illumination of ring topography and "atmospheres" (dust, whatever) will be very faint except at the directly illuminated ring edge. Saturn light on the rings will largely swamp ultra-oblique solar illumination. The best place for grazing incidence illumination studies of the rings is where the rings enter and exit Saturn-shadow. Ringlight on the planet's nightside, will be very low at that time.
An inclined orbit is called for to make those observations. What other tradeoffs on other observations and their preferred orbits will be, I don't know.
The extended mission tour has already been chosen, with the usual uncertainties we know where the spacecraft is going to be until July 2010. this sort of this was considerd and decided on in January (I think)