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Topic: Titan

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures image of possible new Moon around Saturn

 

Written by Jane Platt
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons.

Images taken with Cassini’s narrow angle camera on April 15th, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn’s A ring — the outermost of the planet’s large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide.

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn’s A ring in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

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NASA researchers finds signs of Exomoon

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?

NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.

Researchers have detected the first "exomoon" candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers have detected the first “exomoon” candidate — a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to begin 100th trip around Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Gay Hill
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ten years ago, we knew Titan as a fuzzy orange ball about the size of Mercury. We knew it had a nitrogen atmosphere — the only known world with a thick nitrogen atmosphere besides Earth. But what might lie beneath the hazy air was still just a guess.

On March 6th, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will swoop down within 933 miles (1,500 kilometers) of Titan to conduct its 100th flyby of the Saturn moon. Each flyby gives us a little more knowledge of Titan and its striking similarities to our world.

This artist's concept shows a possible model of Titan's internal structure that incorporates data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (A. D. Fortes/UCL/STFC)

This artist’s concept shows a possible model of Titan’s internal structure that incorporates data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (A. D. Fortes/UCL/STFC)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft catches Saturn and it’s Moons dressed for Christmas

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA -This holiday season, feast your eyes on images of Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, in a care package from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. All three bodies are dressed and dazzling in this special package assembled by Cassini’s imaging team.

“During this, our tenth holiday season at Saturn, we hope that these images from Cassini remind everyone the world over of the significance of our discoveries in exploring such a remote and beautiful planetary system,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader, based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO. “Happy holidays from all of us on Cassini.”

The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gets images of Lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – With the sun now shining down over the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan, a little luck with the weather, and trajectories that put the spacecraft into optimal viewing positions, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has obtained new pictures of the liquid methane and ethane seas and lakes that reside near Titan’s north pole.

The images reveal new clues about how the lakes formed and about Titan’s Earth-like “hydrologic” cycle, which involves hydrocarbons rather than water.

This false-color mosaic, made from infrared data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, reveals the differences in the composition of surface materials around hydrocarbon lakes at Titan, Saturn's largest moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho)

This false-color mosaic, made from infrared data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, reveals the differences in the composition of surface materials around hydrocarbon lakes at Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft detects Propylene, key Ingredient of Plastic on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has found propylene, a chemical used to make food-storage containers, car bumpers and other consumer products, on Saturn’s moon Titan.

This is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than Earth.

A small amount of propylene was identified in Titan’s lower atmosphere by Cassini’s composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS). This instrument measures the infrared light, or heat radiation, emitted from Saturn and its moons in much the same way our hands feel the warmth of a fire.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft looks toward the night side of Saturn's largest moon and sees sunlight scattering through the periphery of Titan's atmosphere and forming a ring of color. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft looks toward the night side of Saturn’s largest moon and sees sunlight scattering through the periphery of Titan’s atmosphere and forming a ring of color. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data reveals Saturn’s Moon Titan May Have Rigid Ice Shell

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An analysis of gravity and topography data from the Saturnian moon Titan obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests there could be something unexpected about the moon’s outer ice shell.

The findings, published on August 28th in the journal Nature, suggest that Titan’s ice shell could be rigid, and that relatively small topographic features on the surface could be associated with large ice “roots” extending into the underlying ocean.

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NASA looks into the Mystery of the Missing Waves on the Lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – One of the most shocking discoveries of the past 10 years is how much the landscape of Saturn’s moon Titan resembles Earth.

Like our own blue planet, the surface of Titan is dotted with lakes and seas; it has river channels, islands, mud, rain clouds and maybe even rainbows. The giant moon is undeniably wet.

The “water” on Titan is not, however, H2O. With a surface temperature dipping 290 degrees fahrenheit below zero, Titan is far too cold for liquid water. Instead, researchers believe the fluid that sculpts Titan is an unknown mixture of methane, ethane, and other hard-to-freeze hydrocarbons.

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to take picture of Earth from Saturn through it’s Rings

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On July 19th, a photograph of the earth will be taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft through the rings of Saturn–and NASA wants you to jump into the shot. Consider it the first interplanetary photobomb.

“Cassini has photographed Earth before, but this will be the first time Earthlings know in advance their picture will be taken from a billion miles away,” says Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.  “We hope that people around the world will go outside to wave at Saturn while the photo-shoot is underway.”

North America and part of the Atlantic Ocean are expected to be illuminated when NASA's Cassini spacecraft takes a snapshot of Earth on July 19th, 2013. This view is a close-up simulation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

North America and part of the Atlantic Ocean are expected to be illuminated when NASA’s Cassini spacecraft takes a snapshot of Earth on July 19th, 2013. This view is a close-up simulation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft discovers possible Activity on Saturn’s Moon Dione

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – From a distance, most of the Saturnian moon Dione resembles a bland cueball.

Thanks to close-up images of a 500-mile-long (800-kilometer-long) mountain on the moon from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, scientists have found more evidence for the idea that Dione was likely active in the past. It could still be active now.

The Cassini spacecraft looks down, almost directly at the north pole of Dione. The feature just left of the terminator at bottom is Janiculum Dorsa, a long, roughly north-south trending ridge. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

The Cassini spacecraft looks down, almost directly at the north pole of Dione. The feature just left of the terminator at bottom is Janiculum Dorsa, a long, roughly north-south trending ridge. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

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