Month: November 2005

  • Venus Express Checkout Completed with Successful VIRTIS, VMS Images

    After a planetary spacecraft is successfully launched on its long journey to its target planetary object, the various teams involved in the mission must checkout the instruments and subsystems they provided. This usually involves taking images to verify that everything is working properly. The Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) and the Venus Monitoring […]

  • Cassini Flyby – Rhea

    Cassini flew by Rhea yesterday in an effort to better understand the heavily cratered world with wispy terrain similar to the ice cliffs and fractures of Dione. The image above shows the planned image coverage as Cassini passed only 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Rhea on Saturday. When Cassini was still 76,689 kilometers (47,652 miles) […]

  • Zipheads

    Social bookmarking, tagging, and editing have helped launch Web 2.0, or whatever you want to call it. This is a phenomena few if anyone accurately predicted. Except that Vernor Vinge predicted it quite accurately in 1999 with his Hugo Award winning novel A Deepness in the Sky. In the novel, a future race of humans […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Phoebe

    Ymir, Suttung, Thrym, Mundilfari, Narvi, Tarvos, Siarnaq, Erriapo, Albiorix, Skadi, Paaliaq, Ijiraq, Kiviuq, and 12 more unnamed… In the outer reaches of the Saturnian system lie at least 26 tiny moons. 25 of these remain faint lights in the sky, 12 of which were announced in May 2005. When Cassini-Huygens entered the Saturnian system in […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Iapetus

    The excitement of scientists upon Cassini-Huygens entering the Saturnian System was reserved mostly for Titan, Saturn itself, and its rings. That the other moons might be something more than cratered and dead ice bodies was hardly expected. Enter Iapetus. This strange moon between Phoebe and Titan helped write the exciting new chapter of Saturn moon […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Hyperion

    There is a poster-sized image displayed on a board in the public-accessible lobby of the Charles P. Sonnett Space Sciences Building on the University of Arizona campus that correctly portrays Hyperion as one of the reddest objects in our solar system, along side Mars and some of the transneptunion objects. The colors of Hyperion, in […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Titan

    Titan, the largest of the Saturnian moons, with the thick planet-like atmosphere. The moon with the Earth-like surface, of deeply cut fluid channels, broad sea-like basins, pebbled channel beds, lakes, wind-driven sediments, and occasional craters. The alien moon with water ice as rock carved by periodically flowing methane streams and rivers, with hydrocarbons snowing from […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Rhea

    Rhea might otherwise be the most boring of the Saturnian moons, what with its ancient craters, airless surface, and lack of any recent activity. But therein lies the mystery. Why are there two distinct regions of craters, suggesting an early resurfacing event, and what are the wispy features on the surface that resemble the more […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Polydeuces

    Somewhere in the raw image above, perhaps the tiny dot in the lower right, may be Polydeuces, a tiny moon discovered by Cassini-Huygens and announced on February 24, 2005 with the following from a mission news report: “Another discovery was a tiny moon, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) across, recently named Polydeuces. Polydeuces is a […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Dione

    The beautiful wispy terrain on Dione has long tantalized planetary scientists looking over low resolution images of the moon. When Cassini flew by Dione in December 16, 2004 it revealed the wisps to be bright ice cliffs created by the fracturing of the moon’s surface, a result completely unexpected by scientists. This would not be […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Helene

    Little is known about the tiny moon Helene other than its size (32 kilometers, or 20 miles) and its status as a Trojan moon of Dione (along with Polydeuces). All three moons share an orbit, but Helene lies 60 degrees ahead of Dione and Polydeuces lies 60 degrees behind Dione. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Calypso

    Calypso is a Trojan moon of Tethys orbiting Saturn 60 degrees behind Tethys. Cassini snapped the best image yet of Calypso on September 23, 2005, revealing a colorful and potato-shaped object. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s Moons section Calypso Information Table of Contents Introduction Pan Atlas Prometheus Pandora Janus Epimetheus Mimas Pallene and Methone Enceladus […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Tethys

    Ithaca Chasma is an ancient and gigantic rift cutting across the heavily cratered surface of Tethys. Less surprising than many of the other moons of Saturn, Tethys does have its own mysteries, including bright crater floors, younger plains, and evidence of very early activity that resulted in Ithaca Chasma. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s Moons […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Telesto

    Telesto is a Trojan moon of Tethys orbiting Saturn 60 degrees ahead of Tethys. Cassini took the best ever images of this tiny moon on October 11, 2005. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s Moons section Telesto Information Table of Contents Introduction Pan Atlas Prometheus Pandora Janus Epimetheus Mimas Pallene and Methone Enceladus Telesto Tethys Calypso […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Enceladus

    Out of nowhere emerged a Saturn moon to rival Titan in mystery and activity. Here, suddenly, was an ice world not dead but alive and active, spewing out water ice and oxygen from a youthful surface, creating only the second moon atmosphere known in the Saturnian system. Because Enceladus is so small, the atmosphere is […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Pallene and Methone

    Two of the newest moons discovered by Cassini, Pallene and Methone are tiny worlds that lie between the orbits of Enceladus and Mimas. The image above may or may not show these two moons, but the camera used by Cassini to snap this image was pointing toward Pallene on September 29, 2005. More Information Cassini-Huygens […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Mimas

    Herschel Crater covers nearly a third of the diameter of Saturn’s small moon Mimas, helping it to resemble the Death Star from Star Wars. Some of the most breathtaking images taken by Cassini of Saturn and its rings have included Mimas in the shot. Crater upon crater upon crater indicate the surface of Mimas is […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Epimetheus

    The tiny and irregular shaped Epimetheus orbits Saturn with a similar moon called Janus, both of which may have formed when a larger body was broken up during a collision earlier in its history. Because the density of Epimetheus is less than that of water, it may be porous, perhaps just a pile of rubble […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Janus

    Janus is quite similar to Epimetheus. Both moon share the same orbit and trade places with each other every four years. Janus is heavily cratered and likely very ancient. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s Moons section Janus Information Table of Contents Introduction Pan Atlas Prometheus Pandora Janus Epimetheus Mimas Pallene and Methone Enceladus Telesto Tethys […]

  • A Tour of the Moons of Saturn – Pandora

    The craters on the tiny moon Pandora are muted compared to craters on larger moons because they are filled with collapsed debris. The surface is also covered in fine icy material, perhaps as a result of Pandora’s role as a ring shepherd moon, keeping Saturn’s F ring in line. More Information Cassini-Huygens Website Saturn’s Moons […]