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The Official Saturn and Titan explorating thread

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
aka

Mr. Cassini Drops Mr. Huygens at Titan, then Tours the Rings and Moons for 4 years

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm - NASA's Official Home Page of the Mission

First Encounter: with Moon Phoebe - Jun 11 2004
Expected Saturn Orbit Insertion - July 1 2004 (43 days and counting)

Already sending back some impressive new pictures


and discovering more details about the atmospheric haze around Titan

These telemetry images should update once a day... 19,758 kph !!! :eek:



also worth checking out is the spiffy Flash Video about what, how, and why we're exploring

No tinfoilhats, please, or Mr. Saturn might go Goya on ya.
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post #2 of 100
I have no grudge against your enthusiasm. But shouldn't we clean up our act on the one planet we live in before heading out to others? In the distant future, we might end up like locusts and leeches if we keep travelling from planet to planet just to consume it's resources.
Most of us employ the Internet not to seek the best information, but rather to select information that confirms our prejudices. - Nicholas D. Kristof
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Most of us employ the Internet not to seek the best information, but rather to select information that confirms our prejudices. - Nicholas D. Kristof
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post #3 of 100
We can look up at the horizon, or we can look at the dirt. One takes our dreams outward, and expands our potential, the other limits it to what's within our grasp.

We have problems on this planet. But we need to look outward to have a sense of wonder at the scale, and realize exactly how precious this tiny habitat we have really is... maybe then we'll work harder to protect it and ourselves.



And those photos are *stunning*.
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post #4 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
We can look up at the horizon, or we can look at the dirt. One takes our dreams outward, and expands our potential, the other limits it to what's within our grasp.

We have problems on this planet. But we need to look outward to have a sense of wonder at the scale, and realize exactly how precious this tiny habitat we have really is... maybe then we'll work harder to protect it and ourselves.



And those photos are *stunning*.

I fully agree. Sometime we have to look elsewhere to see how precious and how rare, the things we take for granted are.
post #5 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by talksense101
I have no grudge against your enthusiasm. But shouldn't we clean up our act on the one planet we live in before heading out to others? In the distant future, we might end up like locusts and leeches if we keep travelling from planet to planet just to consume it's resources.

Actually, not have our collective act together might be a good reason to spread out. That way we could destroy a whole planet at a time, yet still keep going elsewhere.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #6 of 100
I want the governments to stop space exploration for the simple reason that I want to get to Mars first, claim it, and then sell the real estate to mining corporations.
Cat: the other white meat
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Cat: the other white meat
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post #7 of 100
Thread Starter 
In "Concert for another world" news,
After an unsuccessful attempt by the British Band Blur to perform in an alien atmosphere when the Beagle probe was lost en route to the Martian surface, a young Frenchman awaits the performance of four of his songs on the surface of Titan courtesy of the Huygens probe.

http://music2titan.com/

Meanwhile... Cassini's latest colour shot


original here with higher res image links
Quote:
As Cassini coasts into the final month of its nearly seven-year trek, the serene majesty of its destination looms ahead. The spacecraft's cameras are functioning beautifully and continue to return stunning views from Cassini's position, 1.2 billion kilometers (750 million miles) from Earth and now 15.7 million kilometers (9.8 million miles) from Saturn.

In this narrow angle camera image from May 21, 2004, the ringed planet displays subtle, multi-hued atmospheric bands, colored by yet undetermined compounds. Cassini mission scientists hope to determine the exact composition of this material.

This image also offers a preview of the detailed survey Cassini will conduct on the planet's dazzling rings. Slight differences in color denote both differences in ring particle composition and light scattering properties.

Images taken through blue, green and red filters were combined to create this natural color view. The image scale is 132 kilometers (82 miles) per pixel.
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post #8 of 100
Thread Starter 
First encounter with Phoebe (perhaps captured Kuiper Belt Object or asteroid)

Click for Caption and Video
Phoebe Looms in View - June 11, 2004
Phoebe, Saturn's largest outer moon, is the first target of exploration for the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. A short video clip shows images taken by the spacecraft as it approached Phoebe.
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post #9 of 100
Amazing stuff. God, I can't wait until January (let's hope lightning doesn't strike twice with regard to the ESA landing probes on other worlds -I want to see the serface of Titan!!!)
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post #10 of 100
Thread Starter 
The latest closeups of Phoebe's craters have provided hints of water-ice.


Quote:
A Skyline View
June 14, 2004

Images like this one, showing bright wispy streaks thought to be ice revealed by subsidence of crater walls, are leading to the view that Phoebe is an ice-rich body overlain with a thin layer of dark material. Obvious down slope motion of material occurring along the walls of the major craters in this image is the cause for the bright streaks, which are over-exposed here. Significant slumping has occurred along the crater wall at top left.

The slumping of material might have occurred by a small projectile punching into the steep slope of the wall of a pre-existing larger crater. Another possibility is that the material collapsed when triggered by another impact elsewhere on Phoebe. Note that the bright, exposed areas of ice are not very uniform along the wall. Small craters are exposing bright material on the hummocky floor of the larger crater.

Elsewhere on this image, there are local areas of outcropping along the larger crater wall where denser, more resistant material is located. Whether these outcrops are large blocks being exhumed by landslides or actual 'bedrock' is not currently understood.

The crater on the left, with most of the bright streamers, is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) in diameter, front to back as viewed. The larger depression in which the crater sits is on the order of 100 kilometers (62 miles) across. The slopes from the rim down to the hummocky floor are approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) long; many of the bright streamers on the crater wall are on the order of 10 kilometers (6 miles) long. A future project for Cassini image scientists will be to work out the chronology of slumping events in this scene.

This image was obtained at a phase, or Sun-Phoebe-spacecraft, angle of 78 degrees, and from a distance of 11,918 kilometers (7,407 miles). The image scale is approximately 70 meters (230 feet) per pixel. No enhancement was performed on this image.


Images collected during Cassini's close flyby of Saturn's moon, Phoebe, have yielded strong evidence that the tiny object may contain ice-rich material, overlain with a thin layer of darker material perhaps 300 to 500 meters (980 to 1,600 feet) thick.

The surface of Phoebe is also heavily potholed with large and small craters. Images reveal bright streaks in the ramparts of the largest craters, bright rays which emanate from smaller craters, and uninterrupted grooves across the face of the body.

"The imaging team is in hot debate at the moment on the interpretations of our findings," said Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. "Based on our images, some of us are leaning towards the view that has been promoted recently, that Phoebe is probably ice-rich and may be an object originating in the outer solar system, more related to comets and Kuiper Belt objects than to asteroids."

In ascertaining Phoebe's origin, imaging scientists are noting important differences between the surface of Phoebe and that of rocky asteroids which have been seen at comparable resolution. "Asteroids seen up close, like Ida, Mathilde, and Eros, and the small martian satellites do not have the bright 'speckling' associated with the small craters that are seen on Phoebe," said Dr. Peter Thomas, an imaging team member from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

The landforms observed in the highest resolution images also contain clues to the internal structure of Phoebe. Dr. Alfred McEwen, an imaging team member from the University of Arizona, Tucson, said, "Phoebe is a world of dramatic landforms, with craters everywhere, landslides, and linear structures such as grooves, ridges, and chains of pits. These are clues to the internal properties of Phoebe, which we'll be looking at very closely in order to understand Phoebe's origin and evolution."

"I think these images are showing us an ancient remnant of the bodies that formed over four billion years ago in the outer reaches of the solar system," said Dr. Torrence Johnson, an imaging team member from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Battered and beat-up as it is, it is still giving us clues to its origin and history."

Phoebe may be an icy interloper from the distant outer solar system which found itself captured by giant Saturn in its earliest, formative years. Final conclusions on Phoebe's origins await a combination of the results on Phoebe's surface structures, mass and composition gathered from all 11 instruments, which collected data during the flyby on June 11, 2004.

"This has been an impressive whirlwind flyby and it's only a curtain raiser on the events about to begin," said Porco.

Cassini arrives in orbit around Saturn on the evening of June 30, 2004 (July 1 Universal Time).

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit, http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org .

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

There are several other new images of Phoebe in the Image Gallery
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post #11 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by talksense101
I have no grudge against your enthusiasm. But shouldn't we clean up our act on the one planet we live in before heading out to others? In the distant future, we might end up like locusts and leeches if we keep travelling from planet to planet just to consume it's resources.

Progress, discovery, science, whatever you want to call it never makes sense when you compare it directly to what you could do with the money to help some person. Problem is that there are always people to help and the planet to clean up, so you may a well toss in some money to keep learning and adventure alive. In the end the amount of money spent on science and NASA is still only a small amount of the money spent by our government and that of other nations. Just a drop in the bucket, but its the drop that I feel most proud of.

The ancient Eygyptians inslaved people to build the pyramids, countless faithful were coerced out of their money to build fantastic cathedrals during the middle ages. A few tax dollars to fund the wonders of our time seem tame in comparison.
post #12 of 100
Hey on a slightly related subject-don't want to start a thread for this- I saw this photo posted today from Spirit at Gusev. Doesn't that rock look like it has the same blueberry (hematite) formation as Opportunity has seen on the otherside of Mars? Any Martian geologists around?

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...0P2597L2M1.JPG

The rock is the big one on the left.
post #13 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Carson O'Genic
Hey on a slightly related subject-don't want to start a thread for this- I saw this photo posted today from Spirit at Gusev. Doesn't that rock look like it has the same blueberry (hematite) formation as Opportunity has seen on the otherside of Mars? Any Martian geologists around?

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/galle...0P2597L2M1.JPG

The rock is the big one on the left.

There is a Mars Exploration Thread going. I've been a bit slack updating it.

First glance suggests it might be basaltic, but I'd have to see the other filters.

To my recollection, no 'blueberries' have been confirmed at Gusev, only at Meridiani.

There's a new Mars briefing tomorrow at 1pm which should provide content for fresh updates.
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post #14 of 100
Thread Starter 
Yesterday's Cassini briefing included data and imagery from Phoebe.

Confirmation of Water Ice proves origin as Kuiper Object from outer solar system not asteroid.

Confirmation of Carbon Dioxide, Ferrous Iron, and 'unidentified material' compound.


Quote:
Phoebes Mineral Distribution
June 23, 2004 . . . Full-Res: PIA06400

These set of images were created during the Phoebe flyby on June 11, 2004. The images show the location and distribution of water-ice, ferric iron, carbon dioxide and an unidentified material on the tiny moon of Saturn. The first image was taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera and is shown for comparison purposes only. The other images were taken by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer onboard Cassini.

The infrared image of Phoebe obtained at a distance of about 16,000 km (10,000 miles) shows a large range of bright and dark features. The resolution of the image is about 4 km (2.5 miles). carbon dioxide on the surface of Phoebe is distributed globally, although it appears to be more prevalent in the darker regions of the satellite.

The existence of carbon dioxide strongly suggests that Phoebe did not originate in the asteroid belt, but rather in much colder regions of the Solar System such as the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a vast reservoir of small, primitive bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. An unidentified substance also appears to be more abundant in the darker regions.

A map showing the distribution of water ice (blue), ferric iron (red), which is common in minerals on Earth and other planets, and the unidentified material (green). Water ice is associated with the brighter regions, while the other two materials are more abundant in the darker regions.

NASA TV plans the following coverage (all times EST)
Quote:
June 29, Tuesday
12 p.m. - Cassini Saturn Orbit Insertion Press Conference - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
3 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Live Interviews on Cassini Saturn Orbit Insertion (Interactive Media Briefing)

June 30, Wednesday
12 p.m. - Cassini Saturn Orbit Insertion Status Press Conference - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
1 p.m. - NASA Honor Awards - HQ (Employee Event)
2 p.m. - News briefing: "17 countries, 7 years, 1 planet, The International Aspects of Cassini" - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
5 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - "Ringside Chat" Press Conference - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
6 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Live Interviews on Cassini Mission - JPL (One-Way Media Interviews)
9:30 p.m. - 12:40 a.m. (July 1) - Live Commentary from Mission Control of Cassini-Huygens arrival at Saturn - JPL (Mission Coverage)

July

July 1, Thursday
1 a.m. - Cassini News Briefing: Post-Saturn arrival - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
7:45 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Live Commentary on Cassini's First Images (taken during orbit insertion) - JPL (Mission Coverage)
1 p.m. - News briefing: Cassini Saturn arrival first pictures - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
3 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Live Interviews on Cassini Mission - JPL (One-Way Media Interviews)

July 2, Friday
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. - Live Interviews with Dennis Boccippio on NASA's role in studying "Lightning and Lightning Safety Awareness" - MSFC (One-Way Media Interviews)
2 p.m - Cassini Preliminary Science Press Update - JPL (Interactive Media Briefing)
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post #15 of 100
Thread Starter 
Today's Pre-Saturn Orbit Insertion Briefing was 'all systems go' for Cassini to get captured in 20 hours.

Navigation reports that after 7 years in space and 4.5 Billion kilometers travel, with the help of 4 gravity assists from Venus, Earth, and Jupiter and a few trajectory correction maneuvers, they expect SOI absolute accuracy to within 11 km, relative accuracy within 3 or 4 km.


details here

The pass through the ring plane is well outside the densest rings, and the high gain antenna will rotate to face the direction of travel to act as a shield for the spacecraft in case of smaller particle impacts.

The maximum camera resolution at closest ring plane approach will be about 120 meters per pixel, while most ring particles are expected to be on the order of 10 meters or less in diameter, so seeing individual grains of ring material isn't going to happen. They'll be analyzing structure and potentially doing fluid dynamics to attempt to replicate patterns, and using the far ultraviolet and spectrographic systems to get compositional info.

First Titan encounter (of 43 during the mission) will take place July 2nd as well... so we get some ring data, then some Titan data quite early. Though of course, the delay from Saturn is about 1 hour 23 minutes and change.

This latest movie of Titan looks inviting.


They've already measured interaction with Saturn's magnetosphere, and rotational audio.
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post #16 of 100
Thread Starter 
Live commentary for Cassini's Saturn Orbit Insertion is due to start on NASA TV at 1830 PST
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post #17 of 100
Thread Starter 
Successful Saturn Orbit Insertion.

Photos and data to come later this evening.
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post #18 of 100
Congratulations to JPL! Here's to many years of discovery and adventure around the Saturn system.
post #19 of 100
Thread Starter 
Cassini's first image of the Rings (unprocessed).


Quote:
Image above: After becoming the first spacecraft to enter Saturn's orbit, Cassini sent back this image of a portion of the planet's rings. It was taken by the spacecraft's narrow angle camera and shows the dark, or unlit, side of the rings.

Press conference this morning might have processed versions of the first Ring pics.

More to come after a textbook night
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post #20 of 100
Thread Starter 
Unspecified caption yet, but this is the sunlit side...
looks like the F Ring and gap to A Ring just bulging into the center left edge.

It seems to me we can see the lit lower crescent of a moon inside and above the F Ring.


You can also clearly see perturbations or 'wake' in the F ring, perhaps due to the nearby moon (Prometheus?).

This image was taken with the Wide Angle camera at a resolution of about 7km per pixel.
Detailed shots of the F ring wake at 700m per pixel will be available soon.

Images and briefing to come this morning.
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post #21 of 100
From engadget.com:

Quote:
Interesting fact: Cassini has a DVD record of 616,400 handwritten signatures from 81 countries around the globe, including the missions namesakes, Jean-Dominique Cassini and Christiaan Huygens, lifted from 17th-century letters. We kinda wonder what region encoding they put on that and if its CSSd so that there wont be any aliens bootlegging it.



[nice thread, BTW]
post #22 of 100
Astonishing.

God I hope this baby hangs together for the duration of the mission. The Titan lander could be so fucking amazing.

Thanks for keeping this up-to-date, 'burb.
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post #23 of 100
Thread Starter 
Sorry for slacking in my updates... new term start.

ESA has a spiffy new "Where is Cassini Now" Flash animation

Dark side detail of Dione

Quote:
The icy, cratered surface of Saturn's moon Dione shows more than just its sunlit side in these two processed versions of the same image.

The view at left, with only mild enhancement, shows a romantic crescent with large craters visible. The contrast in the version at the right has been greatly enhanced to show the side of Dione lit faintly by reflected light from Saturn. A similar phenomenon can be seen from Earth, when the Moon's dark side is visible due to "earthshine." The crater at the top of the image appears to have a sunlit central peak in the enhanced view - a common characteristic of craters on Dione as seen in Voyager images. Slight variations in brightness on the moon's dark side hint at the bright curved linear streaks, seen by Voyager. These streaks are thought to be deposits of water ice

Iapetus, the two-faced moon also gets a new photo

Quote:
The moon with the split personality, Iapetus, presents a puzzling appearance. One hemisphere of the moon is very dark, while the other is very bright. Whether the moon is being coated by foreign material or being resurfaced by material from within is not yet known.

Iapetus' diameter is about one third that of our own moon at 1,436 kilometers (892 miles). The latest image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 3 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Iapetus (pronounced eye-APP-eh-tuss).

The brightness variations in this image are not due to shadowing, they are real. The face of Iapetus visible was observed at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 10 degrees. The image scale is 18 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel. The image was magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.

Titan fans are inside 100 days to the next flyby and dose of data, then another 60 days of itching for Huygens Xmas-eve release.

Ring junkies might tip their hats to this rakish new view.

Quote:
This dramatic view of Saturns rings draped by the shadow of Saturn, shows brightness variations that correspond to differences in the concentration of the ring particles as they orbit the planet.

The planets western limb is visible in the upper right corner. Three of Saturns moons can be seen here: Bright Enceladus (499 kilometers, or 310 miles across) is visible near lower right; Epimetheus (116 kilometers, or 72 miles across) appears at center left; and interior to the F ring, near the top of the image, is Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across). The F ring, the outermost ring shown here, displays several knot-like features near the left side of the image.

The image was taken in visible light by the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Saturn, at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 108 degrees. This is the first processed wide angle camera image to be released since Cassinis encounter with Jupiter in 2000. The image scale is 87 kilometers (54 miles) per pixel.

Messenger is due for launch to Mercury near the end of the month, so I'll have to start another thread. \
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post #24 of 100
Mercury is a relatively short ride compared to Saturn, no?
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post #25 of 100
Thread Starter 
Tune in for Titan on Tuesday



Quote:
Tune in to Titan

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Cassini will pass within 1,200 km (746 miles) of Saturn's giant moon Titan. The historic flyby will be the closest approach to Titan to date. NASA TV coverage begins Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. (PST).
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post #26 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
Mercury is a relatively short ride compared to Saturn, no?

Actually, Messenger is on a long, gravity assist trajectory and won't get to Mercury for 4+ years.
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post #27 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by talksense101
...we might end up like locusts and leeches if we keep travelling from planet to planet just to consume it's resources.

Manifest Destiny. Oh yeah.
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post #28 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Cassini Eyes Titan's Xanadu - October 25, 2004

This image taken on Oct. 24, 2004, reveals Titan's bright "continent-sized" terrain known as Xanadu. It was acquired with the narrow angle camera on Cassini's imaging science subsystem through a spectral filter centered at 938 nanometers, a wavelength region at which Titan's surface can be most easily detected. The surface is seen at a higher contrast than in previously released imaging science subsystem images due to a lower phase angle (Sun-Titan-Cassini angle), which minimizes scattering by the haze.

The image shows details about 10 times smaller than those seen from Earth. Surface materials with different brightness properties (or albedos) rather than topographic shading are highlighted. The image has been calibrated and slightly enhanced for contrast. It will be further processed to reduce atmospheric blurring and to optimize mapping of surface features. The origin and geography of Xanadu remain mysteries at this range. Bright features near the south pole (bottom) are clouds. On Oct. 26, Cassini will acquire images of features in the central-left portion of this image from a position about 100 times closer.

From here among a few new Titan shots released today

Expecting much better tonight. Maybe even 100 times better.


Coming up on 4 hours to the Titan flyby webcast.

Quote:
(All times are Pacific time)

Titan Flyby
NASA TV Coverage
- October 26, 6:30 pm

Post-Flyby Briefing
NASA TV Coverage
- October 27, 9:00 am

Science Briefing
NASA TV Coverage
- October 28, 9:00 am
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post #29 of 100
Thread Starter 
Huygens Landing Site

Quote:
Shown here are two images of the expected landing site of Cassini's Huygens' probe (latitude 10.6 S, longitude 191 W). At right is a wide-angle image showing most of Titan's disc, with a scale of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) per pixel. At left is a narrow-angle image of the landing site at a scale of 0.83 kilometers (.5 miles) per pixel (location shown by black box at right). North is tilted about 45 degrees from the top of both images. The surface has bright and dark markings with a streamlined pattern consistent with motion from a fluid, such as the atmosphere, moving from west to east (upper left to lower right). The image at left is 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide. Both images were taken by Cassini's imaging science subsystem through near-infrared filters.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

+ High resolution

+ View archive

False colour VIMS images of the same areas in Infrared

Quote:
This image taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer clearly shows surface features on Titan. It is a composite of false-color images taken at three infrared wavelengths: 2 microns (blue); 2.7 microns (red); and 5 microns (green). A methane cloud can be seen at the south pole (bottom of image). This picture was obtained as Cassini flew by Titan at altitudes ranging from 100,000 to 140,000 kilometers (88,000 to 63,000 miles), less than two hours before the spacecraft's closest approach. The inset picture shows the landing site of Cassini's piggybacked Huygens probe.

Radar results this morning didn't cover the same area, but in the Northern hemisphere swath of 100km x 2000km they captured yesterday, the altimetry results showed less than a 50m variation in elevation... pretty flat surface they said.

More data should come out tomorrow. There was some fascinating chemistry stuff discussed this morning about the propensity for polymerization of certain hydrocarbons into other chains, sometimes 'metallic', sometimes 'white', and sometimes 'black' to certain instruments, but I would have liked to have heard more on how/why certain transformations occur.

Where in the atmosphere seems important, but Titan is somewhat unusual in that it passes in and out of Saturn's magnetosphere periodically in its orbit and is sometimes fully exposed to the solar wind, while at other times benefits from shielding against certain cosmic emissions and potentially mutagenic radiation.

Yesterday's results from scooping a sample of Titan's atmosphere.

Quote:
This graph shows data acquired by Cassini as it flew by Titan at an altitude of 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) on Oct. 26, 2004 - its closet approach yet to the hazy moon. The data is from Cassini's ion and neutral mass spectrometer, which detects charged and neutral particles in the atmosphere. The graph reveals a diversity of hydrocarbons in the high atmosphere above Titan, including benzene and diacetylene.

Still more questions than answers, but it's sure fascinating.
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post #30 of 100
EARTH FIRST!!!


We'll strip-mine other planets later.
I think I think...therefore, I think I am.

We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more...
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I think I think...therefore, I think I am.

We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more...
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post #31 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by mattjohndrow
EARTH FIRST!!!


We'll strip-mine other planets later.

Uh, Titan is crucial to understanding organic chemistry similar to what might have been found on the early Earth. It's the best candidate for studying early Earth, in that regard.

Titan may help us understand phenomena like the Ozone Hole in new ways.
It will certainly teach us new things about hydrocarbons and atmospheres.

Some of this knowledge may have demonstrable benefit here despite your short term view.
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #32 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
Some of this knowledge may have demonstrable benefit here despite your short term view.

i was kidding...joke...i actually think the whole research project is rather cool.
I think I think...therefore, I think I am.

We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more...
Reply
I think I think...therefore, I think I am.

We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more...
Reply
post #33 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by mattjohndrow
i was kidding...joke...i actually think the whole research project is rather cool.

sorry. lack of sarcasm tags caught me on the wrong side of coffee.
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #34 of 100
Thread Starter 
Planetary Society/ESA Announce: Titan Art Contest

Best image(s) by Nov 28th win a trip to Germany to watch Huygens descent live at ESA control.

Quote:
How to enter

Create an artwork representing what you imagine Titan looks like underneath its haze, based on your perspective on Huygens' journey. Are you viewing the moon from the air after Huygens breaks through the cloud or on the surface after the craft has parachuted to a landing? Did Huygens land on solid ground or is she floating in an ethane sea? Send us your vision of what lies beneath the veil when you imagine Titan.

Once you have finished your artwork you can enter the contest online. You do not need to mail your work, just create it on the computer, take a digital photo or scan your artwork. However, if you are not able to enter the contest digitally, you can also mail it to us. _
_
Contest questions and answers
_
Who can enter?

Anyone aged 10 and above may enter either in the youth section (aged 10-17) or the adult section (18 and over).

What kind of art can I create?

You can use any medium to create your artwork and then send us a digital image through the online entry form. You can also mail your art to us but please note that it should be no larger than 2.5 x 28 x 43 cm (1 x 11 x 17 inches) and that we cannot return artwork.

When does the contest end?

28 November 2004 at 23:59 Pacific time

What can I win?

The Grand Prize is a trip to Darmstadt, Germany to be on site at ESA's Operations Centre for the descent of the Huygens probe. There are also four first prizes (two for both sections) and up to 20 second prizes. The Grand Prize Winner will be chosen from among the first prize winners.

All the winning artwork will be displayed at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) during the Huygens mission to Titan and winners will all receive a Planetary Society prize package. This contains: one year's free Planetary Society membership; a Certificate of Honour; a Cassini-Huygens Mission Patch; an ESA poster, pin and keychain; and a 'Nine Planets' lithograph set.

In addition, two special prizes (one in each section) will be awarded for the artwork that most closely resembles any part of the image of the Titan panoramic landscape taken by the Huygens probe during its final descent. These awards, a framed and autographed Huygens photo of the Titan landscape, will be made within 30 days of the return of the actual Titan image data.

Mailing address for postal entries
Huygens Art Contest
The Planetary Society
65 N Catalina Ave.
Pasadena
CA 91106
USA

Get your paints and pixels going, ladies and gentlemen of artistic bent.
It is remotely possible you might even get a bit of Titan named after you.
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #35 of 100
Quote:
Originally posted by curiousuburb
sorry. lack of sarcasm tags caught me on the wrong side of coffee.




I thought that was quite funny.

Thanks Curiousuburb for the updates!
post #36 of 100
Thread Starter 
Inspiring true-colour Cassini picture of the week... Mimas against the rings shadow.



Quote:

Nature's Canvas
November 29, 2004
Full-Res: PIA06142

In a splendid portrait created by light and gravity, Saturn's lonely moon Mimas is seen against the cool, blue-streaked backdrop of Saturn's northern hemisphere. Delicate shadows cast by the rings arc gracefully across the planet, fading into darkness on Saturn's night side.

The part of the atmosphere seen here appears darker and more bluish than the warm brown and gold hues seen in Cassini images of the southern hemisphere, due to preferential scattering of blue wavelengths by the cloud-free upper atmosphere.

The bright blue swath near Mimas (398 kilometers, or 247 miles across) is created by sunlight passing through the Cassini division (4,800 kilometers, or 2,980 miles wide). The rightmost part of this distinctive feature is slightly overexposed and therefore bright white in this image. Shadows of several thin ringlets within the division can be seen here as well. The dark band that stretches across the center of the image is the shadow of Saturn's B ring, the densest of the main rings. Part of the actual Cassini division appears at the bottom, along with the A ring and the narrow, outer F ring. The A ring is transparent enough that, from this viewing angle, the atmosphere and threadlike shadows cast by the inner C ring are visible through it.

Images taken with red, green and blue filters were combined to create this color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Nov. 7, 2004, at a distance of 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel.
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post #37 of 100
Thread Starter 
Some fabulous new photos have been parked on the Cassini Gallery pages in the past week, including Iapetus and more Ring shots and more as we approach the Titan-B flyby 12/13 and Dione closest approach 12/15 on our way to the biggest event of the mission so far.

I'll be airborne for some of this on approach to the UK (explained in another thread), but will try to update again before Huygens probe release in two weeks.

Choice among the uploads are these two showing Prometheus mooching material and potentially causing more wake disturbances and perturbations in the F ring, and a quicktime movie called "Tilt and Whirl".


Quote:
Thieving Moon
December 3, 2004 _ Full-Res: PIA06143

As it completed its first orbit of Saturn, Cassini zoomed in on the rings to catch this wondrous view of the shepherd moon Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across) working its influence on the multi-stranded and kinked F ring.

The F ring resolves into five separate strands in this closeup view. Potato-shaped Prometheus is seen here, connected to the ringlets by a faint strand of material. Imaging scientists are not sure exactly how Prometheus is interacting with the F ring here, but they have speculated that the moon might be gravitationally pulling material away from the ring. The ringlets are disturbed in several other places. In some, discontinuities or "kinks" in the ringlets are seen; in others, gaps in the diffuse inner strands are seen. All these features appear to be due to the influence of Prometheus.

The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on Oct. 29, 2004, at a distance of about 782,000 kilometers (486,000 miles) from Prometheus and at a Sun-Prometheus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 147 degrees. The image scale is 4.7 kilometers (2.9 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two, and contrast was enhanced, to aid visibility.


Quote:
Tilt and Whirl
December 3, 2004 _ Full-Res: PIA06144 _ QuickTime (1.7 MB)

Zigzagging kinks and knots dance around Saturn in this movie of the F ring from Cassini. From a great distance, as during Cassini's initial approach to Saturn in mid-2004, the F ring appears as a faint, knotted strand of material at the outer fringe of Saturn's immense ring system. From this close vantage point, just after the spacecraft rounded the planet to begin its second orbit, the F ring resolves into several ringlets with a bright central core. The core of the F ring is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide and is located at a distance of approximately 80,100 kilometers (49,800 miles) from Saturn's cloud tops.

Scientists have only a rough idea of the lifetime of features like knots and clumps in Saturn's rings, and studies of images, such as those comprising this movie, will help them piece together this story.

The view here is from Cassini's southern vantage point, below the ringplane. During the course of the movie sequence, Cassini was headed on a trajectory that took the spacecraft away from the planet and farther south, so that the rings appear to tilt farther upward. To help visualize this, note that the top portion of the F ring is closer to the spacecraft, while the bottom portion is farther away and curves around the far side of Saturn.

The movie consists of 44 frames taken three minutes apart, so that the span of time represented in the sequence is almost exactly two hours, or about one-eight of a Saturn rotation. The images that comprise this movie sequence were taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on Oct. 28, 2004, and at distances ranging from approximately 516,000 kilometers (321,000 miles) to 562,000 kilometers (349,000 miles). No enhancement was performed on the images.

Get ready for mainstream media coverage to ramp up in advance of the 12/26 Huygens release.
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #38 of 100
Thread Starter 
Huygens released on time and on target... Titan here we come... landing Jan 14th.

True colour Cassini picture of the week... Saturn, Titan, and (hard to spot) Mimas.


Quote:
Cassini's Holiday Greetings
December 24, 2004 Full-Res: PIA06164

From its station nearly 1.2 billion kilometers (746 million miles) from Earth, the stalwart Cassini spacecraft sends holiday greetings to Earth with this lovely color portrait of Saturn and two of its moons.

The 2004 holiday season marks the close of a miraculous year that saw the end of Cassini's long journey across the solar system and the beginning of its adventures in orbit around Saturn. In a triumph of human achievement, the Cassini mission has already returned thousands of images and has begun to uncover the mysteries of the Saturn system. This color portrait serves as reminder of the Saturnian places we have already seen and the promise of future discovery at Titan when the European Space Agency's Huygens probe arrives at Titan on Jan. 14, 2005.

The image shows the majestic ringed planet, with bands of colorful clouds in its southern hemisphere. The planet's northern extremes have a cool bluish hue, due to scattering of blue wavelengths of sunlight by the cloud-free upper atmosphere there. Long shadows of the icy rings stretch across the north.

A grayish, oval-shaped storm is visible in Saturn's southern hemisphere and is easily 475 kilometers (295 miles) across - the size of some hurricanes on Earth.

Titan (5,150 kilometers, or 3,200 miles across) is visible near lower right with its thick, orange-colored atmosphere, and faint Mimas (398 kilometers, or 247 miles across) appears just right of the rings' outer edge.

Images taken in the red, green and blue filters with the Cassini spacecraft wide angle camera on Dec. 14, 2004, were combined to create this color view at a distance of approximately 719,000 kilometers (447,000 miles) from Saturn. The image scale is 43 kilometers (27 miles) per pixel.
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post #39 of 100
Thread Starter 
Huygens is Go for Titan Entry Jan 14th...



Quote:
Go Huygens!
January 11, 2005 Full-Res: PIA06172


This map illustrates the planned imaging coverage for the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, onboard the European Space Agency's Huygens probe during the probe's descent toward Titan's surface on Jan. 14, 2005. The Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer is one of two NASA instruments on the probe.

The colored lines delineate regions that will be imaged at different resolutions as the probe descends. On each map, the site where Huygens is predicted to land is marked with a yellow dot. This area is in a boundary between dark and bright regions.

This map was made from the images taken by the Cassini spacecraft cameras on Oct. 26, 2004, at image scales of 4 to 6 kilometers (2.5 to 3.7 miles) per pixel. The images were obtained using a narrow band filter centered at 938 nanometers - a near-infrared wavelength (invisible to the human eye) at which light can penetrate Titan's atmosphere to reach the surface and return through the atmosphere to be detected by the camera. The images have been processed to enhance surface details. Only brightness variations on Titan's surface are seen; the illumination is such that there is no shading due to topographic variations.

For about two hours, the probe will fall by parachute from an altitude of 160 kilometers (99 miles) to Titan's surface. During the descent the camera on the probe and five other science instruments will send data about the moon's atmosphere and surface back to the Cassini spacecraft for relay to Earth. The Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer will take pictures as the probe slowly spins, and some these will be made into panoramic views of Titan's surface.

This map (PIA06172) shows the expected coverage by the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer side-looking imager and two downward-looking imagers - one providing medium-resolution and the other high-resolution coverage. The planned coverage by the medium- and high-resolution imagers is the subject of the second map (PIA06173).

Quote:

NASA TV/webcast will carry ESA TV during the Titan events.
Check the TV schedule for full details (all times listed are in Eastern Time).

January 13, Thursday
10:55 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Huygens Final Status News Conference From ESA

January 14, Friday
3 a.m. - Live Coverage Begins
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Huygens Probe News Briefing (will confirm if data is being received)
5 p.m. - 6 p.m. - ESA Commentary and "Presentation of First Triplet Image of/data from Titan"

January 15, Saturday
5 a.m. - 6 a.m. - ESA News Briefing "Early Look at Science Results"

I know what I'll be watching this weekend.
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #40 of 100
Man, I had spaced on the timetable, thankyou thankyou thankyou for keeping me up to date.

I am so glued to the screen.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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