Latest Herschel Stories

2010-03-29 14:48:06

The highest-resolution-yet temperature map and images of Saturn's icy moon Mimas obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble "Pac-Man" eating a dot, and striking bands of light and dark in crater walls. "Other moons usually grab the spotlight, but it turns out Mimas is more bizarre than we thought it was," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in...

2010-02-12 20:30:00

On Feb. 13, 2010, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its closest examination yet of Mimas, an eyeball-shaped moon of Saturn that has also been likened to the Death Star of "Star Wars." The spacecraft will be returning the highest-resolution images yet of this battered satellite. Mimas bears the mark of a violent, giant impact from the past - the 140-kilometer-wide (88-mile-wide) Herschel Crater - and scientists hope the encounter will help them explain why the moon was not blown to...

2009-04-28 12:15:00

A University of Michigan astronomer says he will use the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Telescope to search for the precursors of life. Associate Professor Ted Bergin said many organic molecules that make up life on Earth have also been found in space. Bergin wants to study those chemical compounds to gain insights into how organic molecules form in space, and, possibly, how life formed on Earth. Bergin is a co-investigator on the Heterodyne Instrument for the Infrared aboard Herschel...

2009-04-14 09:48:18

Herschel's three scientific instruments have passed their functional tests and are 'good to go'. This marks another milestone in the steady progress being made in preparing the satellite for launch. All three of Herschel's instruments, the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI), underwent short functional tests to verify the health of the instruments after transport to...

2009-03-05 08:25:51

Following Herschel's arrival at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, the spacecraft has been unpacked and inspected. After an initial visual inspection, the telescope mirror, the largest ever to fly in space, was cleaned thoroughly to prepare it for launch. The spacecraft arrived in Kourou on 12 February. Before the container was opened a day later, it was flushed with dry gaseous nitrogen, ensuring that the difference in pressure inside and outside of the container prevented any...

2009-01-21 13:30:00

On Thursday, 8 January 2009, the Herschel flight model spacecraft was lifted out of the Large Space Simulator (LSS) at ESTEC, where it has successfully completed the last series of environmental tests. For Herschel the last weeks before Christmas 2008, were devoted to the final series of thermal balance and thermal vacuum (TBTV) tests under simulated in-flight conditions. These involved both the spacecraft and the payload and were successfully completed by 20 December. During the TBTV tests...

2007-02-21 13:30:00

The heart of ESA's infrared space telescope, Herschel, has successfully completed a vital round of tests. The cylindrical cryostat will now be loaded with the spacecraft's instruments before more tests and Herschel's eventual launch in 2008. Herschel's cryostat is a complex vacuum flask, 2.5 metres high and 2 metres wide. It is vital to the mission because Herschel's instruments need a temperature of 1.7 Kelvin ("“271.3 degrees Celsius) to operate within their most sensitive range....

2005-08-05 12:50:00

JPL -- On its recent close flyby of Mimas, the Cassini spacecraft found the Saturnian moon looking battered and bruised, with a surface that may be the most heavily cratered in the Saturn system. The Aug. 2 flyby of Saturn's 'Death Star' moon returned eye-catching images of its most distinctive feature, the spectacular 140-kilometer diameter (87-mile) landslide-filled Hershel crater. Numerous rounded and worn-out craters, craters within other craters and long grooves reminiscent of those...

Latest Herschel Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Mimas -- Mimas is a moon of Saturn that was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel. Mimas' low density (1.17) indicates that it is composed mostly of water ice with only a small amount of rock. Mimas' most distinctive feature is a colossal impact crater 130 km across, named Herschel after the moon's discoverer. Herschel covers almost 1/3 of the diameter of the entire moon; its walls are approximately 5 km high, parts of its floor measure 10 km deep, and its central peak...

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Word of the Day
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".