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Posts Tagged ‘Titan’

Five Reasons Why Cassini is the Greatest Space Probe

December 30th, 2010 Comments off

A rendering of Cassini's six-plus year voyage from Earth to Saturn.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory based out of Cal Tech has been one of the most successful of NASA’s divisions, particularly the team that has handled the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn.  Although perhaps the most prominent scientist to emerge from the mission is imaging team leader Carolyn Porco (on Twitter), the Cassini probe itself is a huge star.

Cassini is a space probe in orbit around Saturn and was joined in its launch by the Huygens probe, which landed on the moon Titan.  Huygens is named for Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch scientist who first proposed that Saturn had a ring system and who also was the first to observe Titan, its largest moon.  Cassini is named for Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who discovered several other moons of Saturn.

Cassini has been in orbit and operation around Saturn since July 2004, while Huygens’ mission ended with its insertion on Titan in January of 2005.  They have provided discoveries of immeasurable importance, such as the observation of guysers and tiger stripes on Enceladus, the direct observation of methane lakes on Titans and the finer understanding of Saturn’s ring system and the impact of the gravity from moons on such rings.

After the jump, I’m posted images of the five “latest news items” from the JPL mission site.  Each of the items, individually, would be huge news.  That the Cassini team can roll those out as a matter of course is truly remarkable and reflective of the mission’s successes.

Even in the same time period when Voyager 1 reached the Termination Point and the Heliosheath, preparing to enter interstellar space in a first for human missions, Cassini proves itself as number one.

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