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After Cassini: Exploring Water Worlds and Ice Giants

NASA JPL September 07, 2017 As the Cassini spacecraft nears the end of a long journey rich with scientific and technical accomplishments, it is already having a powerful influence on future exploration. In revealing that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has many of the ingredients needed for life, the mission has inspired a pivot to the exploration of “ocean worlds” that has ... Read More »

Future Spacecraft Will Use A.I. When Exploring the Unknown

NASA JPL June 21, 2017 How do you get a robot to recognize a surprise? That’s a question artificial intelligence researchers are mulling, especially as A.I. begins to change space research. A new article in the journal Science: Robotics offers an overview of how A.I. has been used to make discoveries on space missions. The article, co-authored by Steve Chien ... Read More »

Cassini Finds Titan’s Highest Mountain

NASA JPL March 24, 2016 In a nod to extraterrestrial mountaineers of the future, scientists working on NASA’s Cassini mission have identified the highest point on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Titan’s tallest peak is 10,948 feet (3,337 meters) high and is found within a trio of mountainous ridges called the Mithrim Montes. The researchers found that all of Titan’s highest ... Read More »

Enormous Ice Cloud Covers Titan’s South Pole

NASA November 11, 2015 New observations made near the south pole of Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft add to the evidence that winter comes in like a lion on this moon of Saturn. Scientists have detected a monstrous new cloud of frozen compounds in the moon’s low- to mid-stratosphere – a stable atmospheric region above the troposphere, or active weather ... Read More »

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has a Global Ocean

NASA JPL September 15, 2015 A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, ... Read More »

Water is Everywhere in the Cosmos

NASA April 7, 2015 As NASA missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways. “NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to ... Read More »

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Has Seafloor Hydrothermal Activity

ESA March 11, 2015 Tiny grains of rock detected by the international Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn point to hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of its icy moon Enceladus. The finding adds to the tantalising possibility that the moon could contain environments suitable for living organisms. Understanding the interior structure of 500 km-diameter Enceladus has been a top priority of the ... Read More »

New Image Technique Yields Ultra Clear Views of Titan

NASA February 12, 2015 During 10 years of discovery, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has pulled back the smoggy veil that obscures the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Cassini’s radar instrument has mapped almost half of the giant moon’s surface; revealed vast, desert-like expanses of sand dunes; and plumbed the depths of expansive hydrocarbon seas. What could make that scientific bounty ... Read More »

Toxic Cloud on Titan is Laced With Cyanide

ESA October 1, 2014 The international Cassini mission has revealed that a giant, toxic cloud is hovering over the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, after the atmosphere has cooled in a dramatic fashion. Scientists analysing data from the mission found that this giant polar vortex contains frozen particles of the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide. “The discovery suggests that ... Read More »

Cassini Sees Clouds Form Over Titan Lake

NASA JPL August 12, 2014 NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recently captured images of clouds moving across the northern hydrocarbon seas of Saturn’s moon Titan. This renewed weather activity, considered overdue by researchers, could finally signal the onset of summer storms that atmospheric models have long predicted.   CONTINUE Image credit: NASA JPL-CalTech Space Science Institute Read More »

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