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Latest Saturn Stories

Image 1 - NASA Developing Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle
2011-09-14 08:37:37

  [ View the Video ] NASA announced plans on Wednesday to develop an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle which will be able to start launching in 2017. The Space Launch System (SLS) will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth's orbit and destinations beyond, according to a NASA. "This launch system will create good-paying American jobs, ensure continued U.S. leadership in space, and...

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2011-08-26 14:25:13

  NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured new views of Saturn's oddly shaped moon Hyperion during its encounter with this cratered body on Thursday, Aug. 25. Raw images were acquired as the spacecraft flew past the moon at a distance of about 15,500 miles (25,000 kilometers), making this the second closest encounter. Hyperion is a small moon -- just 168 miles (270 kilometers) across. It has an irregular shape and surface appearance, and it rotates chaotically as it tumbles along in...

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2011-08-16 09:47:40

Why does Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have what looks like an enormous white arrow about the size of Texas on its surface? A research group led by Jonathan L. Mitchell, UCLA assistant professor of earth and space sciences and of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, has answered this question by using a global circulation model of Titan to demonstrate how planetary-scale atmospheric waves affect the moon's weather patterns, leading to a "stenciling" effect that results in sharp and sometimes...

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2011-07-26 06:45:00

ESA's Herschel space observatory has shown that water expelled from the moon Enceladus forms a giant torus of water vapor around Saturn. The discovery solves a 14-year mystery by identifying the source of the water in Saturn's upper atmosphere. Herschel's latest results mean that Enceladus is the only moon in the Solar System known to influence the chemical composition of its parent planet. Enceladus expels around 250 kg of water vapor every second, through a collection of jets from the south...

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2011-07-07 14:44:49

By Dauna Coulter - Science@NASA July 6, 2011: NASA's Dawn spacecraft is closing in on Vesta, and from now until the ion-powered spacecraft goes into orbit in mid-July, every picture of the giant asteroid will be the best one ever taken. What will researchers do with this unprecedented clarity? "For starters," says Dawn chief engineer Marc Rayman, "we're going to look for an asteroid moon." You might think of asteroids as isolated bodies tumbling alone through space, but it's entirely possible...

2011-07-06 13:30:00

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists analyzing data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now have the first-ever, up-close details of a Saturn storm that is eight times the surface area of Earth. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) On Dec. 5, 2010, Cassini first detected the storm that has been raging ever since. It appears at approximately 35 degrees north latitude on Saturn. Pictures from Cassini's imaging cameras show the storm wrapping...

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2011-07-06 13:50:00

NASA reported today that scientists analyzing data from its Cassini spacecraft have discovered close-up details of a Saturn storm that is eight times the surface area of Earth. The Cassini spacecraft located the storm about 35 degrees north latitude on Saturn on December 5, 2010. Cassini's imaging cameras show the storm wrapping around the entire planet covering about 2 billion square miles. NASA said the storm is about 500 times larger than the biggest storm previously seen by Cassini...

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2011-06-30 14:00:00

A planetary scientist at the University of Arizona has determined Neptune's rotation. According to the first accurate measurements of the planet's rotational period, a day on Neptune lasts about 15 hours, 57 minutes and 59 seconds. University of Arizona planetary scientist Erich Karkoschka has discovered one of the largest improvements in determining the rotational period of a gas planet in almost 350 years since Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini made the first observations of Jupiter's...

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2011-06-22 13:35:00

Scientists say they have found convincing evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus has a large-scale subterranean saltwater ocean. The discovery was made using data collected during the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. The plumes of shooting water vapor and tiny grains of ice into space were originally discovered emanating from Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005. The researchers from the University of Heidelberg and University of Colorado said during three of Cassini's passes...


Latest Saturn Reference Libraries

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2004-10-19 04:45:44

Cassini-Huygens Mission -- The Cassini unmanned space probe is intended to study Saturn and its moons. It was launched on October 15, 1997 and is estimated to enter Saturn's orbit on July 1, 2004. The mission is a joined NASA/ESA project. Cassini's principal objectives are to: -- determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the rings -- determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object -- determine the nature and...

Gas Giant
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Gas Giant -- A gas giant is a generic astronomical term invented by the science fiction writer James Blish to describe any large planet that is not composed mostly of rock or other solid matter. Gas giants may still have a solid core - in fact, it is expected that such a core is probably required for a gas giant to form - but the majority of its mass is in the form of gas (or gas compressed into a liquid state). Unlike rocky planets, gas giants do not have a well-defined surface. There...

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Planet Neptune -- Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It is a gas giant. Orbiting so far from the sun, Neptune receives very little heat. Its 'surface' temperature is -218 degrees Celsius (below zero). However, the planet seems to have an internal source of heat. It is thought that this may be leftover heat generated by infalling matter during the planet's birth, now slowly radiating away into space. Neptune's atmosphere has the highest wind speeds in the solar system, up to...

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Uranus -- Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. It is a gas giant. Physical characteristics Uranus is composed primarily of rock and various ices, with only about 15% hydrogen and a little helium (in contrast to Jupiter and Saturn which are mostly hydrogen). Uranus (and Neptune) are in many ways similar to the cores of Jupiter and Saturn minus the massive liquid metallic hydrogen envelope. It appears that Uranus does not have a rocky core like Jupiter and Saturn but rather...

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Saturn's moon Phoebe -- Phoebe is the outermost of Saturn's known moons. Phoebe is almost 4 times more distant from Saturn than its nearest neighbor (Iapetus). It was discovered by William Henry Pickering in 1898. Most of Saturn's moons have very bright surfaces, but Phoebe's albedo is very low (.06), as dark as lampblack. All of Saturn's moons except for Phoebe and Iapetus orbit very nearly in the plane of Saturn's equator. Phoebe's orbit is retrograde, inclined almost 175, and is...

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Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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