Data from NASA’s Cassini mission reveal Saturn’s moon Phoebe has more planet-like qualities than previously thought. Scientists had their first close-up look at Phoebe when Cassini began exploring the Saturn system in 2004. Using data from multiple spacecraft instruments and a computer model of the moon’s chemistry, geophysics and geology, scientists found Phoebe was a so-called planetesimal, or remnant planetary building block. Cassini images suggest Phoebe originated in the far-off Kuiper Belt, the region of ancient, icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune’s orbit.
Scientists working with images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn’s F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them. These trails in the rings, which scientists are calling “mini-jets,” fill in a missing link in our story of the curious behavior of the F ring. As said Carl Murray, a Cassini imaging team member based at Queen Mary University of London, England he think the F ring is Saturn’s weirdest ring, and these latest Cassini results go to show how the F ring is even more dynamic than they ever thought.
A recent study finds that the lake known as Ontario Lacus on Saturn’s moon Titan (left) bears striking similarity to a salt pan on Earth known as the Etosha Pan (right). A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes, France, a Cassini associate, found evidence for long-standing channels etched into the lake bed within the southern boundary of the depression. This suggests that Ontario Lacus, previously thought to be completely filled with liquid hydrocarbons, could actually be a depression that drains and refills from below, exposing liquid areas ringed by materials like saturated sand or mudflats.
Less than three weeks after its last visit to the Saturnian moon Enceladus, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft returns for an encore. At closest approach on April 14, the spacecraft will be just as low over the moon’s south polar region as it was on March 27 46 miles, or 74 kilometers. Enceladus is the sixth-largest of the moons of Saturn. It was discovered in 1789 by William Herschel.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spots new images of Saturn’s moons Enceladus, Janus and Dione on March 27 and 28, 2012. The new photos reveal the plume of water ice and vapor that springs from the south pole of Enceladus, which is Saturn’s sixth largest moon,as well as the pockmarked surface of Dione and the tiny oblong shape of Janus. Cassini made a close flyby of Enceladus on March 27, swooping within about 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the moon’s surface.
For the first time, images from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have enabled scientists to correlate the spraying of jets of water vapor from fissures on Saturn’s moon Enceladus with the way Saturn’s gravity stretches and stresses the fissures. As said Terry Hurford, a Cassini associate based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. this new work gives scientists insight into the mechanics of these picturesque jets at Enceladus and shows that Saturn really stresses Enceladus.
New video of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up Jupiter’s jet streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth’s atmosphere and influences the weather. The video, made from images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft when it flew by Jupiter in 2000, are part of an in-depth study conducted by a team of scientists and amateur astronomers led by Amy Simon-Miller at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md..
The NASA Visualization Explorer is now delivering new opportunities to explore NASA’s research of the sun, planetary bodies, Earth and the universe to your iPad. Since July 2011, the Visualization Explorer iPad app, NASA Viz for short, has delivered two stories each week with a strong focus on Earth science. That two story per week schedule will continue, but now with stories that cover the breadth of the agency’s science mission and continue to highlight NASA’s artful data visualization. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is organized into four disciplines: Heliophysics, Planetary, Astrophysics and Earth science.
Iapetus’ bizarre two-toned appearance, with one dark side and one bright side, has puzzled astronomers since the moon was first discovered by Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1671. To better understand how this oddball Saturn moon formed and evolved, researchers are now studying the temperature variation across Iapetus’ differing surfaces by measuring the moon’s microwave emissions. Previous studies using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggest that migrating ice makes half of Iapetus reflective and bright, while the other side is cloaked in dust and darkness.