Cassini Space Probe: Astounding Saturn Fly-By Photos

September 5th, 2012
in econ_news

saturn-titan-behind-rings-160pxEconintersect:  The NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Hygens/Cassini spacecraft has been sending simply astounding photos back to earth.  The photos of the ringed planet and its moons are merely the latest scenic and scientific marvels delivered back home since the flagship class spacecraft was launched to the outer regions of the solar system in 1997.  Photos taken since cassini's arrival in 2004 have shown what the planet looks like in winter.  Saturn is emerging from an 8-year winter and will be entering spring, which will last until 2020, giving an opportunity to view seasonal change.

Click on caption photo for much larger image of Titan behind Saturn's rings.

Follow up:

A series of 11 Saturn photos are available at Gizmag.  Here is one:

Click on photo for larger image.

saturn-jet-stream-580px

This year photos have been obtained of one of Saturn's moons, Titan, which scientists say almost certainly prove the existence of oceans of liquid water beneath a thick icy surface layer.

saturn-titan-topography

Titan is comparable in size to earth, which is much smaller than Saturn as shown in the following montage:

Click on photo for larger image.

saturn-earth-collage-580px

According to Wikipedia, this is one of the last solar system exploratory missions planned by NASA.  The final mission, named Juno, was launched in 2011 to explore Jupiter and its moons.  When it crashes into Jupiter at the end of its mission in 2017, the same year that Cassini is scheduled to crash into Saturn, current plans say U.S. ventures to the final frontier will be over.  The ESA (European Space Agency) has at least one additional exploration planned, which will start exploring Jupiter's icy moons in 2030.

John Lounsbury

Sources:









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