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Latest Saturn Stories

785458267cbad26ffbef355eaf39221d1
2010-12-14 15:10:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found possible ice volcanoes on Saturn's moon Titan that are similar in shape to those on Earth that spew molten rock. Topography and surface composition data have enabled scientists to make the best case yet in the outer solar system for an Earth-like volcano landform that erupts in ice. The results were presented today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. "When we look at our new 3-D map of Sotra Facula on Titan, we are struck by its...

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2010-12-13 07:35:00

Scientists have an ingenious explanation for the strange ridge belting Saturn's outermost moon, Iapetus For centuries, people wondered how the leopard got its spots. The consensus is pretty solid that evolution played a major role. But it's only been five years since the arrival of high-resolution Cassini Mission images of Saturn's bizarre moon Iapetus that the international planetary community has pondered the unique walnut shape of the large (735 kilometer radius) body, considered by many...

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2010-12-13 05:30:00

New research suggests that the origin of Saturn's rings may be a case of cosmic murder. According to a new theory published on Sunday in the journal Nature, the rings are the only evidence left of an unnamed moon of Saturn's that disappeared about 4.5 billion years ago The report said that Saturn robbed its outer layer of ice as the moon made its death spiral, which then formed rings. "Saturn was an accomplice and that produced the rings," study author Robin Canup, an astronomer at the...

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2010-12-02 09:00:00

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully dipped near the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Nov. 30. NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully dipped near the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Nov. 30. Though Cassini's closest approach took it to within about 48 kilometers (30 miles) of the moon's northern hemisphere, the spacecraft also captured shadowy images of the tortured south polar terrain and the brilliant jets that spray out from it. Many of the raw images feature darkened terrain...

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2010-12-01 10:17:41

New images and data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft give scientists a unique Saturn-lit view of active fissures through the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. They reveal a more complicated web of warm fractures than previously thought. The new images are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. Scientists working jointly with Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer and its high-resolution imaging camera have constructed the highest-resolution...

508fe1a037ddeaea3f8153e8a260d5f31
2010-11-26 08:15:00

A NASA probe has discovered oxygen in the atmosphere of one of Saturn's moons, discovering the element alongside carbon dioxide in the thing exosphere of the icy satellite known as Rhea. According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, instruments onboard the Cassini probe were able to acquire samples of both elements in March, when it passed within 100km of Saturn's second largest moon. The results reveal that there is an extremely thin layer of oxygen and carbon dioxide in Rhea's atmosphere, and...

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2010-11-12 09:30:00

Ed Stone, project scientist for NASA's Voyager mission, remembers the first time he saw the kinks in one of Saturn's narrowest rings. It was the day the Voyager 1 spacecraft made its closest approach to the giant ringed planet, 30 years ago. Scientists were gathering in front of television monitors and in one another's offices every day during this heady period to pore over the bewildering images and other data streaming down to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Stone drew...

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2010-11-10 11:40:00

Like a cosmic lightbulb on a dimmer switch, Saturn emitted gradually less energy each year from 2005 to 2009, according to observations by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. But unlike an ordinary bulb, Saturn's southern hemisphere consistently emitted more energy than its northern one. On top of that, energy levels changed with the seasons and differed from the last time a spacecraft visited Saturn in the early 1980s. These never-before-seen trends came from a detailed analysis of long-term data...

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2010-11-10 09:25:00

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., expect the Cassini spacecraft will resume normal operations on Nov. 24. They have traced the steps taken by an onboard computer before Cassini put itself in precautionary "safe mode" last week. Mission managers determined that the spacecraft went into safe mode because of a flip of a bit in the command and data system computer. The bit flip prevented the computer from registering an important instruction, and the spacecraft, as...

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2010-11-05 10:45:00

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., are working to understand what caused NASA's Cassini spacecraft to put itself into "safe mode," a precautionary standby mode. Cassini entered safe mode around 4 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. EDT) on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Since going into safe mode, the spacecraft has performed as expected, suspending the flow of science data and sending back only data about engineering and spacecraft health. Cassini is programmed to put itself into safe mode...


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...

4_2a3ec5950ad82c9b458cd93eed908c922
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...

4_131c677fc8e51de37052e5e410fd9c8b2
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...

4_75f4d6ac5758ae2da2f285fe4d468f3d2
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
lambent
  • Licking.
  • Hence Running along or over a surface, as if in the act of licking; flowing over or along; lapping or bathing; softly bright; gleaming.
This word comes the Latin 'lambere,' to lick.
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