Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
It's official: Enceladus has joined the rarefied community of Solar System objects that have been caught in the act of making new geology.
I monitor the Cassini website to keep my eye out for cool pictures, and it's usually relatively easy to figure out what the spacecraft is looking at (rings, moon, Saturn, whatever). Sometimes, though, the images can be very confusing.
The June 15 Cassini Project Update includes a note about a difficult decision -- they are raising the altitude of an upcoming Titan flyby,
In the midst of all this hoopla about Deep Impact, I haven't been able to give the proper attention to Cassini, which began its second year of operations at Saturn today.
The Cassini imaging team has released an image containing a feature unlike any other that they have seen on Titan. The very dark color, curvaceous outline, and sharp edge of the feature have led them to the conclusion that it could well be the long-theorized but never-before-seen body of liquid hydrocarbons on the surface of Titan.
Cassini's been in orbit around Saturn for almost exactly a year now, and the mission seems pretty much to have dropped off of the public radar screen. But there's still three years to go on the primary mission, and lots left to do, and I for one am not at all bored.
Although the two spacecraft traveled a billion kilometers together to study Titan, Cassini and Huygens are two very different types of missions.
Scientists have released a new sound from Huygens, representing the radio signal that Cassini detected from the little probe as it descended to Titan's surface.
It's been close to a month since Huygens descended to the surface of Titan. Many visitors to this website have expressed impatience with the pace of the release of images from the Huygens cameras, a feeling that is no doubt shared by space enthusiasts around the world who are eager to see refined views of the alien surface of Titan.
On January 14, 2005, the eyes of the world were on the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where Huygens mission operators were anxiously awaiting news from Huygens. Would the little probe -- a mission built in seventeen countries, more than twenty years in the making -- be a success, or would it prove a repeat of the heartbreaking silence of Beagle 2?
In the 48 hours since Huygens' data first began streaming back to Earth, a few processed images of the channeled landscape and bouldery landing site have been released to the public. Now, the Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer team at the University of Arizona has put all of Huygens' images online for the public to view.
The Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer crams six sub-instruments into a tiny footprint within the Huygens probe.
A week after Huygens' descent, the emerging picture of the surface of that smoggy world is of an arid, icy desert, where periodic storms of methane rain create transient rivers that wash sooty soil from icy highlands out to short-lived pools and lakes. The pools dry up -- perhaps sinking into a sandy soil of glass-like water ice -- and the Titanian desert waits for another methane storm.
The Cassini spacecraft has captured its first image of its target planet, Saturn.
You can increase discoveries in the worlds of our solar system and beyond. When you join The Planetary Society, you help build public support for planetary science, encourage decision makers to prioritize human and robotic exploration, and support technological advances in planetary exploration.Become A Member