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Latest Exploration of Saturn Stories

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2007-05-24 18:13:01

Titan 'T28' Mosaic (top image) Bright and dark terrain on Titan's trailing hemisphere is revealed by Cassini's Imaging Science Subsystem in this mosaic of images taken during the T28 flyby in April 2007. The region shown in this image, centred on the northern part of Titan's trailing hemisphere (near 31.2° North, 139.3° East), had only been seen at very low resolution until February 2007, when Cassini flew over this area for the first time. This mosaic consists of images taken during...

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2007-05-16 14:50:00

Pasadena, Calif. -- Rubbing your hands together on a cold day generates a bit of heat, and the same process of frictional heating may be what powers the geysers jetting out from the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Tidal forces acting on fault lines in the moon's icy shell cause the sides of the faults to rub back and forth against each other, producing enough heat to transform some of the ice into plumes of water vapor and ice crystals, according to a new study published in the May 17...

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2007-03-01 14:20:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured never-before-seen views of Saturn from perspectives high above and below the planet's rings. Over the last several months, the spacecraft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing its cameras with glimpses of the planet and rings that have scientists gushing. "Finally, here are the views that we've waited years for," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "Sailing high above...

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2007-02-12 09:20:00

Astronomers from the University of Virginia and other institutions have found that Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, is a "cosmic graffiti artist," pelting the surfaces of at least 11 other moons of Saturn with ice particles sprayed from its spewing surface geysers. This ice sandblasts the other moons, creating a reflective surface that makes them among the brightest bodies in the solar system (Enceladus, itself a ball of mostly ice, is the single most reflective body in our solar...

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2006-10-12 06:30:24

Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have spied a new, continuously changing feature that provides circumstantial evidence that a comet or asteroid recently collided with Saturn's innermost ring, the faint D ring. Imaging scientists see a structure in the outer part of the D ring that looks like a series of bright ringlets with a regularly spaced interval of about 30 kilometers (19 miles). An observation made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 also saw a periodic structure in the...

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2006-10-12 00:00:00

Cassini scientists are on the trail of the missing moons of Saturn. A recent observation by the spacecraft leads them to believe that they will find the moons near newly discovered rings around the planet. During an unprecedented opportunity, with the sun poised behind Saturn, Cassini scientists discovered two new rings and confirmed the presence of two others. The new rings are associated with one or more small moons and share their orbits with the moons, while scientists suspect a moon is...

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2006-09-19 19:02:59

Saturn sports a new ring in an image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Sunday, Sept. 17, during a one-of-a-kind observation. Other spectacular sights captured by Cassini's cameras include wispy fingers of icy material stretching out tens of thousands of kilometers from the active moon, Enceladus, and a cameo color appearance by planet Earth. The images were obtained during the longest solar occultation of Cassini's four-year mission. During a solar occultation, the sun passes directly...

2006-07-26 12:40:00

LONDON (Reuters) - The weather forecast for Saturn's giant moon Titan calls for methane rain, scientists said on Wednesday. It ranges from a persistent drizzle that keeps the surface of Saturn's largest moon -- which has geological features similar to Earth -- damp to fierce storms that could produce huge droplets. "We have found the first evidence of drizzly rain on a remote planet, in this case Titan, which consists of liquid methane and a little bit of nitrogen," said Tetsuya Tokano of...

effe36f1e96b78939e5718df4e2af6971
2006-06-27 16:03:49

As the Cassini spacecraft reaches the halfway mark in its four-year tour of the Saturn system, discoveries made during the first half of the mission have scientists revved up to find out what's in store for the second act. Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since June 30, 2004, studying the planet, its rings and moons. "The spacecraft has spent a considerable amount of time studying the moon Titan during 15 separate flybys so far. In the second half of its prime mission, ending June 2008,...

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2006-03-09 12:30:00

JPL -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs that erupt in Yellowstone-like geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The rare occurrence of liquid water so near the surface raises many new questions about the mysterious moon. "We realize that this is a radical conclusion -- that we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. "However, if...