Cassini probe at Saturn... (warning -- large images!)

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Incredible is right. That is genuinely astonishing.

Bill A (Bill A), Wednesday, 19 October 2005 09:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

UK people: Horizon tonight, 9pm, BBC2.

robster (robster), Thursday, 20 October 2005 10:39 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
three months pass...
Oceans on Enceladus, perhaps. Another report here. It's big stuff...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 11 March 2006 02:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
A Huygens descent movie has been made available, along with new Titan images:

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink


...s on the surface.

DOQQUN (donut), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink


latebloomer (latebloomer), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink


latebloomer (latebloomer), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A Secret Report From Within the Guild

Titan's all cold and stuff!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink


I was kind of disappointed about "earth-like" comparisons in the narrative. Dudes, it's METHANE RAIN and -180 degrees. It ain't earth. (OR IS IT??)

rrrobyn (rrrobyn), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:28 (eleven years ago) Permalink

How dare you be critical of the off-world colonies.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

don't make me start talking about Battlestar Galactica.

rrrobyn (rrrobyn), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Dudes, it's METHANE RAIN and -180 degrees. It ain't earth. (OR IS IT??)


DOQQUN (donut), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 5 May 2006 20:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ooh pretty. Good of Penn Jillette to do the narration too.

robster (robster), Friday, 5 May 2006 21:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
a movie of cassini crossing the ring plane

Lingbert, Saturday, 3 March 2007 19:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

another moon, only 2km in diam. are these really worth classing as moons i ask yer. Aren't they just spin-offs from the ring of rocks?

Ste, Friday, 20 July 2007 15:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

Well but they're special rocks.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 21 July 2007 00:24 (ten years ago) Permalink

special as in olympics?

StanM, Saturday, 21 July 2007 00:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Images coming in from yesterday's close flyby of Iapetus

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 00:05 (ten years ago) Permalink

these are kind of creepy.

31g, Wednesday, 12 September 2007 02:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

More evidence for Titan having a subsurface ocean

Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 March 2008 03:45 (nine years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Late late mission barnstorming over Saturn

Although the first mission extension for Cassini hasn't officially been approved yet by NASA Headquarters (which strikes me as being kind of silly, since the primary mission comes to a close in less than two months!!), the mission is already trying to figure out what to do beyond the two-year proposed Extended Mission. Last week there was a meeting of the Outer Planets Assessment Group, and Cassini's Deputy Project Scientist, Linda Spilker, gave a presentation on what to expect from the extended missions (here it is, in PDF format, well worth a look). There was a lot of stuff about the science to be expected from the extended mission, and a proposal for an extended-extended mission, but the real stunner was a scenario she presented for Cassini's end-of-life: to spend the very, very last phase of the mission in an orbit that threads Cassini between Saturn's cloud tops and the innermost D ring.

Folks, the gap between Saturn and the D ring is only about 3,000 kilometers wide. I suppose for a mission to a place like Mars, 3,000 kilometers of leeway is quite a lot. But Saturn is 120,000 kilometers across, and the main ring system extends another 60,000 kilometers or so above Saturn; Cassini would have to do an orbital maneuver to majorly drop its periapsis (closest approach point) to right in between the planet and its rings, leaping over the main ring system in the process. The idea seems totally crazy.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 13 April 2008 02:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

Crazy... and AWESOME

Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved, Sunday, 13 April 2008 02:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

That needs to happen. (Like they've got anything to lose!)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 April 2008 05:04 (nine years ago) Permalink

god that would be incredible

strgn, Monday, 14 April 2008 05:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

beautiful thread btw

strgn, Monday, 14 April 2008 05:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

Go for another two years

The US space agency (Nasa) has extended the international Cassini-Huygens mission by two years.

The unmanned Cassini-Huygens spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004 on a mission that was supposed to come to an end in July this year.

The two-year mission extension will encompass some 60 extra orbits of Saturn and more flybys of its moons.
These will include 26 flybys of Titan - its biggest moon - seven of Enceladus, and one each of Dione, Rhea and Helene

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 17:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Looking for life in Enceladus’ plume

Now in press at Astrobiology is a look at the possibilities of life on Enceladus that holds out hope for detecting biomarkers with data gathered during a Cassini flyby. That’s an exciting possibility, depending as it does not on an orbiter or lander mission from an indefinite future but on equipment we’ve currently got in Saturn space. And the Enceladus picture remains fascinating because of the possibility that some microbial systems on Earth that operate far beneath the surface may offer examples of how life could evolve on a cold and distant moon of Saturn.

We’ve already found a dozen icy particle jets coming out of Enceladus’ south polar regions, all pumping material into a plume that extends for thousands of kilometers. A 2005 Cassini flyby revealed, among other things, water vapor, methane and simple organic compounds, even as other Cassini instrumentation showed the moon’s south polar region to be anomalously warm. If there is liquid water under the south polar region, could life have evolved there? If so, the paper raises the possibility that methane may be a biomarker. For that matter, could life have come there from elsewhere? The paper argues both are possible:

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 20:39 (nine years ago) Permalink


Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 21:48 (nine years ago) Permalink


Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 21:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Lakes on Titan!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

awesome we can go hydrocarbon-skiing.

Jarlrmai, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:26 (nine years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

That is so way cool. Thanks!

James Morrison, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 03:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

For any London ILXors or folks visiting, great looking exhibition of Cassini images at the Royal Observatory:

Visions of Saturn

Bill A, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 13:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

Stronger hints of an ocean inside Enceladus

PASADENA, Calif. -- For the first time, scientists working on NASA's Cassini mission have detected sodium salts in ice grains of Saturn's outermost ring. Detecting salty ice indicates that Saturn's moon Enceladus, which primarily replenishes the ring with material from discharging jets, could harbor a reservoir of liquid water -- perhaps an ocean -- beneath its surface.

Cassini discovered the water-ice jets in 2005 on Enceladus. These jets expel tiny ice grains and vapor, some of which escape the moon's gravity and form Saturn's outermost ring. Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer has examined the composition of those grains and found salt within them.

"We believe that the salty minerals deep inside Enceladus washed out from rock at the bottom of a liquid layer," said Frank Postberg, Cassini scientist for the cosmic dust analyzer at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Postberg is lead author of a study that appears in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists on Cassini's cosmic dust detector team conclude that liquid water must be present because it is the only way to dissolve the significant amounts of minerals that would account for the levels of salt detected. The process of sublimation, the mechanism by which vapor is released directly from solid ice in the crust, cannot account for the presence of salt.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 21:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Plains of Titan to be Named for Dune novels

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 06:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

The US Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center announced the first plain or "planitia" given a name will be designated as Chusuk Planitia. Chusuk was a planet from the Dune series, known for its musical instruments.

weatheringdaleson, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 07:23 (eight years ago) Permalink


This image, taken as Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox, shows a shadow being cast by a narrow, vertically extended feature in the F ring.

Imaging scientists are working to understand the origin of structures such as this one, but they think this image may show the shadow of an object on an inclined orbit which has punched through the F ring and dragged material along in its path.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 10 August 2009 18:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

Must be escapees from the prison colony.

Nate Carson, Monday, 10 August 2009 20:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Cassini made it's closest pass to Enceladus yet over the weekend and the pictures are knocking me out of my tree. Raw image download.

If you can only look at one, make it this one

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 3 November 2009 02:24 (eight years ago) Permalink


the jun togawa of farting (╓abies), Tuesday, 3 November 2009 02:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Ummm, WOW!

Reflection of Sunlight off Titan Lake
December 17, 2009 Full-Res: PIA12481

This image shows the first flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Saturn’s moon Titan. The glint off a mirror-like surface is known as a specular reflection. This kind of glint was detected by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on July 8, 2009. It confirmed the presence of liquid in the moon’s northern hemisphere, where lakes are more numerous and larger than those in the southern hemisphere. Scientists using VIMS had confirmed the presence of liquid in Ontario Lacus, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere, in 2008.

The northern hemisphere was shrouded in darkness for nearly 15 years, but the sun began to illuminate the area again as it approached its spring equinox in August 2009. VIMS was able to detect the glint as the viewing geometry changed. Titan’s hazy atmosphere also scatters and absorbs many wavelengths of light, including most of the visible light spectrum. But the VIMS instrument enabled scientists to look for the glint in infrared wavelengths that were able to penetrate through the moon’s atmosphere. This image was created using wavelengths of light in the 5 micron range.

By comparing the new image to radar and near-infrared light images acquired from 2006 to 2008, Cassini scientists were able to correlate the reflection to the southern shoreline of a Titan lake called Kraken Mare. The sprawling Kraken Mare covers about 400,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles). The reflection appeared to come from a part of the lake around 71 degrees north latitude and 337 degrees west latitude.

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 17 December 2009 21:39 (seven years ago) Permalink

Insane. (And great.)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 17 December 2009 22:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

Wow--that is so amazing. Now we just need some methane-breathing Titan native wildlife to start flying around visibly in the atmosphere.

Attention please, a child has been lost in the tunnel of goats. (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 December 2009 22:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

I know this is stating the obvious, but the fact that this little probe is flying round out there, taking these amazing shots, and it's all being uploaded straight on the net for us to gawk at---there's not an aspect of this that doesn't blow my mind.

Attention please, a child has been lost in the tunnel of goats. (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 December 2009 22:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

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