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Latest Saturn Stories

7a01ca3f48f9af58d80bbac2a13ce9811
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...

7c290f3df9baa94c9cba6289249be66e1
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...

f9bf2d7ca5abf2cac27add2aee116cb0
2010-11-02 13:37:53

Earth is invitingly blue. Mars is angry red. Venus is brilliant white. Astronomers have learned that a planet's "true colors" can reveal important details. For example, Mars is red because its soil contains rusty red stuff called iron oxide. And the famous tint of our planet, the "blue marble"? It's because the atmosphere scatters blue light rays more strongly than red ones. Therefore the atmosphere looks blue from above and below. Planets around other stars probably exhibit a rainbow of...

37aab76c0f2d3c028bb9c76a0841eeec
2010-11-02 06:50:00

Scientists believe they finally understand why one of the most dynamic regions in Saturn's rings has such an irregular and varying shape, thanks to images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. And the answer, published online November 1 in the Astronomical Journal, is this: The rings are behaving like a miniature version of our own Milky Way galaxy. This new insight, garnered from images of Saturn's most massive ring, the B ring, may answer another long-standing question: What causes the...

a0db5bfdd10b7b19aa68ad9812e447e81
2010-10-31 08:45:00

As NASA's two Voyager spacecraft hurtle towards the edge of our solar system, a new project manager will shepherd the spacecraft into this unexplored territory: Suzanne Dodd, whose first job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., involved sequencing science and engineering commands for Voyager 1 and 2 in 1984."I'm thrilled to re-join a pioneering mission that set up adventures for so many other spacecraft to follow," Dodd said. "There will be more firsts to come as we gather...

2010-10-27 15:23:00

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The magnetometers developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for the Juno mission to Jupiter were delivered recently to Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colo. Designed and built by an in-house team of Goddard scientists, engineers and technicians, this instrument will map the planet's magnetic field with great accuracy and observe its variations over time. Each of the two vector magnetometers carries with it a pair of...

5bb94d393cbfc703b3fe3f0cacefc58f1
2010-10-20 09:35:00

Taking a long-weekend road trip, NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully glided near nine Saturnian moons, sending back a stream of raw images as mementos of its adrenaline-fueled expedition. The spacecraft sent back particularly intriguing images of the moons Dione and Rhea. The Dione and Rhea pictures are the highest-resolution views yet of parts of their surfaces. The views of the southern part of Dione's leading hemisphere (the part of the moon that faces forward in its orbit around...

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2010-10-11 08:03:55

By Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona Simulating possible chemical processes in the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, a UA-led planetary research team found amino acids and nucleotide bases in the mix -- the most important ingredients of life on Earth In an experiment exploring the chemical processes that might be going on in the hazy atmosphere enshrouding Saturn's largest moon, a University of Arizona-led team of scientists discovered a variety of complex organic molecules...

c64b35f31bf40a7e90727354d5501716
2010-10-08 06:31:49

Scientists using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have learned that distinctive, colorful bands and splotches embellish the surfaces of Saturn's inner, mid-size moons. The reddish and bluish hues on the icy surfaces of Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea appear to be the aftermath of bombardments large and small. A paper based on the findings was recently published online in the journal Icarus. In it, scientists describe prominent global patterns that trace the trade routes for...


Latest Saturn Reference Libraries

9_97b760b54aa7e1f81283511b4e3ada292
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
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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