Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
With the last Titan flyby on October 12, Cassini came back to an orbit that's nearly in the equatorial plane, and immediately rewarded us with some fine views of several of the icy moons. Here are a bunch of images of those moons.
Each Titan flyby is not a fork in the road, but rather a Los Angeles style cloverleaf in terms of the dizzying number of possible destinations. So how did our current and future plans for the path of the Cassini spacecraft come to be? That's the question Dave Seal put to me since that's my job -- I am a tour designer.
David Seal muses on his time as the mission planner for Cassini, and the history behind its name, and astronomy in Rome.
A very pretty picture of a moon among stars. Happy 2009, everyone!
There was a press release from the Cassini mission today about a pile of papers (14 of them!) being published in the journal Icarus about Saturn's icy moons. I haven't had time to read more than the overview article yet, but I wanted to come up with a graphic for an overview of Saturn's moons, and I couldn't resist delving into the massive database of Cassini images to produce something new
The Outer Planets Assessment Group or OPAG met two weeks ago, and the presentations from the meeting were recently posted online.
What should arrive in my inbox today but a press release from the Cassini RPWS and magnetometer teams saying, in part,
I received this report on the Tuesday afternoon special session on volcanism and tectonism on Saturn's satellites from Anne Verbiscer, an astronomer from the University of Virginia who I first met at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in 2005.
There's a new image product released from the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) on Cassini, an instrument that is capable of measuring the temperatures on the extremely cold surfaces of Saturn's moons and rings.
The IAU has just approved new names for 35 craters, dorsa, fossae, and sulci on the surface of Enceladus, based upon Cassini's high-resolution mapping of the little moon. What are dorsa, fossae, and sulci, you might ask?
I said earlier I was going to cover the poster sessions next, and there are some cool things that I want to write about, but I thought I'd better get to something a bit more topical a bit sooner: Europa and the other Galilean satellites, and when (if!?) we'll be exploring them again.
So after those two rover talks I skipped over to the other large room to listen to what the Cassini science teams had to say about Enceladus.
I just posted a very brief story about all of the press releases that have been whizzing around today about the possibility of liquid water on Enceladus.
Another thing I've been trying to catch up on is the daily imaging activities of Cassini, but that, too, has been tough because Cassini has been taking so dang many pictures!
Emily tackles this morning's ESA press conference about Huygens.
Cassini mission planner Dave Seal just gave me the latest reference trajectory for Cassini, so I've gone through and updated the flyby altitudes on the Cassini tour page.
It's official: Enceladus has joined the rarefied community of Solar System objects that have been caught in the act of making new geology.