. Saturn News .

Cassini Still Going Strong Investigating Saturn's Moons
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Feb 25, 2013

File image.

NASA's longstanding Cassini mission to Saturn continues to provide scientists with exciting new insights on moons Titan and Enceladus as well as the planet's striking rings, Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Amanda R. Hendrix reported at a conference last week.

"Cassini, our emissary in the Saturn system since 2004, and the only spacecraft in orbit in the outer solar system, is still going strong," said Hendrix, who spoke today on "The Organic Lakes of Titan and Other Moons of Saturn" at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston.

"Cassini's longevity allows the study of seasonal variations, along with temporal variations on a variety of scales -- and its suite of 12 instruments is making complementary measurements, providing insight into different aspects of various scientific discoveries," Hendrix, an investigator on the Cassini mission, said.

These areas of study include Titan's lakes: composition, depth and seasonal variability; Titan's weather patterns; the interior structure of Titan; Enceladus' startling plume activity; surprises on the other moons, such as Iapetus, Dione and Mimas; and Saturn's bizarre collection of small moons.

Cassini will remain in orbit around Saturn until September 2017. The spacecraft began increasing its orbital inclination again last year, allowing for prime viewing of the magnificent rings, as well as the high latitudes of the planet and Titan.

The first glimpses of Titan's surface were provided by the Huygens probe, launched as part of the Cassini-Huygens mission. The probe was released in late 2004 and made its way through the hazy atmosphere of Titan to the surface in January 2005.

Images of Titan's surface -- including its amazing lakes, dunes and river channels -- continue to be returned by Cassini's radar instrument, along with the imaging camera and the infrared mapping spectrometer.

The remaining instruments in Cassini's payload study the atmosphere, and its seasonal variations, while the radio science antenna makes measurements of Titan's interior structure and its subsurface ocean.

"When Cassini arrived at Saturn, it was winter in the northern hemisphere of Titan, roughly like January on Earth. Now it's the equivalent of May on Titan, so spring in the north. And we're seeing significant variations on Titan that are the result of this seasonal transition," Hendrix said.

Such changes include the rain at low latitudes causing surface changes, and atmospheric variations such as haze layer changes and polar vortex evolution. "By continuing to observe and study Titan, we can put together the pieces of the puzzle of its methane-based hydrological cycle."

Enceladus and its active south polar plume also continue to amaze, as it steadily ejects vapor and fine ice particles into the Saturn system. In Hendrix's talk, she reviewed a summary of results from Enceladus and some of Saturn's other intriguing moons.


Related Links
Planetary Science Institute
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
Jupiter and its Moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Cassini Sheds Light On Cosmic Particle Accelerators
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 21, 2013
During a chance encounter with an unusually strong blast of solar wind arriving at Saturn, the international Cassini spacecraft detected particles being accelerated to ultra-high energies, similar to the acceleration that takes place around supernova explosions. Shock waves are commonplace in the universe, for example in the aftermath of a stellar explosion as debris accelerates outwards i ... read more

NASA Rover Confirms First Drilled Mars Rock Sample

India plans mission to Mars in 2013

Rover finds gray rock beneath Red Planet's surface

Bleach could hamper Mars life search

Water On The Moon: It's Been There All Along

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

Cassini Still Going Strong Investigating Saturn's Moons

Cassini Sheds Light On Cosmic Particle Accelerators

Cassini Sees Titan Cooking up Smog

NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail

Welcome Aboard Shenzhou 10

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Public to vote on names for Pluto moons

The PI's Perspective: The Seven-Year Itch

New Horizons Gets a New Year's Workout

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Tiny Planet System

Kepler helps astronomers find tiny exo planet

Searching for a Pale Blue SPHERE in the Universe

Earth-like planets are right next door

Scientists turn eyes toward Europa in search for life

Comet dust seeding life to Jupiter moons?

Telescopes Could Detect ET Life Signs Within 25 Years

Planet color may suggest alien life

Tiny CREPT Instrument to Study the Radiation Belts

USGS Ready To Start Landsat 8 Science Program

Orbital-Built Landsat Satellite Launched

LDCM 'Doing Great' in Orbit

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement