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Latest Saturn Stories

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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...

2011-06-22 12:00:00

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered the best evidence yet for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft's direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Data from Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are...

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2011-06-20 10:35:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed its second-closest encounter with Saturn's icy moon Helene, beaming down raw images of the small moon. At closest approach, on June 18, Cassini flew within 4,330 miles (6,968 kilometers) of Helene's surface. It was the second closest approach to Helene of the entire mission. Cassini passed from Helene's night side to the moon's sunlit side. It also captured images of the Saturn-facing side of the moon in sunlight, a region that was only...

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2011-06-16 09:57:57

NASA said on Wednesday that an instrument aboard its Cassini spacecraft is temporarily out of service. It said the plasma spectrometer aboard the spacecraft studying Saturn was turned off this week as a precaution after a short circuit. This instrument is used to measure the energy of electrons and protons. Engineers are troubleshooting the problem, but it is unclear when the instrument will be back online. NASA said Cassini will continue to collect other data while this instrument is...

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2011-06-16 05:20:00

NASA said Wednesday that Voyager 1 could cross over into the frontier of interstellar space at any time and much earlier than previously thought. Data from Voyager's low-energy charged particle instrument have indicated that the outward speed of the charged particles streaming from the sun has slowed to zero. The stagnation of this solar wind has continued through at least February 2011, marking a thick, previously unpredicted "transition zone" at the edge of our solar system. "There is one...

2011-06-13 08:00:00

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's new J-2X rocket engine, which could power the upper stage of the nation's future heavy-lift launch vehicle, is ready for its first round of testing. The fully assembled engine was installed Saturday in the A-2 Test Stand at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Beginning in mid-June, the engine will undergo a series of 10 test firings that...


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
endocarp
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'kardia,' heart.
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