On Saturday, the Cassini spacecraft conducted a flyby of Saturn's sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, snapping some rather breathtaking photos along the way. The flyby, whose purpose was to gather the highest-resolution photos ever of the moon's southern polar region and to thermally map the "tiger stripe" terrain there, gathered some stunning images including some of the geyser-like plumes Cassini discovered on the moon's surface during previous flybys.
The idea of extraterrestrial boating comes from planetary geologist (and sailing enthusiast) Ellen Stofan, who points out that one of Saturn's moons, Titan, is covered with lakes, and in fact is one of only two places in our solar system known to have surface liquid (the other being Earth, of course). So why not launch a floating probe? After all, to date all extraterrestrial endeavors have involved either flight or land navigation, so perhaps it's time to switch it up a little.
Saturn Gets Served:A mysterious object passing through Saturn's "Ring F" NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
An unknown object appears to have punched through one of Saturn's rings and left a calling card in the form of trailing debris. NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped the image on June 11, 2009 during its ongoing tour of Saturn and its moons.
This week, new photos of our moon taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showed what we already know: the orbiting rock has a lot of craters, but no signs of life. But scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany have revealed new findings that there is another moon worthy of intensive exploration -- and perhaps even a visit at some future date.
Beneath the central Antarctic ice sheet lies Lake Vostok -- a frozen freshwater lake about the size of Lake Ontario, with depths up to 650 feet. Now, scientists believe that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may harbor a similar underground reservoir.
The 14-year-long summer on Saturn’s southern side is drawing to a close. August 11, 2009, marks the planet’s vernal equinox, when Saturn’s thin rings line up edge-on with the sun. As this happens, the rings will appear to grow thinner until they completely vanish. Because scattered sunlight won’t obscure the view, it’s a perfect time for NASA’s spacecraft Cassini to answer long-standing questions about Saturn.
Another fascinating find from the Cassini probe has scientists buzzing about one of Saturn's moons
By Gregory Mone
Posted 03.25.2008 at 10:57 am 5 Comments
The Cassini probe has found evidence that there may be an underground ocean on Saturn's moon Titan. The moon is already an area of tremendous interest to planetary scientists, given its dunes, lakes and mountains. It also has one of the most Earth-like surfaces in the solar system. Now, by using radar measurements to detect changes in the moon's rotation, scientists have gotten more insight into what's below the surface.
The first ringed moon is discovered off the ringed planet
By Gregory Mone
Posted 03.10.2008 at 12:27 pm 1 Comment
The Cassini spacecraft has uncovered evidence of a ring of space dust orbiting the second largest of Saturns moons, Rhea. No other moons have ever been found to have rings, so this could be a first, but it may also provide some interesting clues to Rheas past. When it captured the data in November 2005, Cassini was actually looking for evidence of an atmosphere around the moon.
Scientists are triumphant over extraordinary new images from Saturn and its moons—rivers of methane, ice volcanoes, ferocious storms and more
By Michael Moyer
Posted 04.29.2005 at 1:00 pm 0 Comments
The penetrometer was the first thing to hit. The stick-like probe on the bottom of the Huygens lander punched aside a hard pebble made of water ice on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and sliced down through five inches of soft, muddy material. Scientists watching from Earth were ecstatic—the probe was not expected to survive the landing—but at the same time puzzled: If Titan really was, as they suspected, much like a young Earth, where were the liquid oceans predicted to cover the surface?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.