Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Saturn

  • Saturn’s moon Enceladus has conditions that could support microbial life

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 4th, 2018

    Complex organic molecules have been discovered in the plumes of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data transmitted back to Earth by the Cassini Saturn orbiter, which ended its service above the ringed world on Sept. 16, 2017.

  • NASA shows ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ image captured by Cassini

    Joe LatrellApril 25th, 2018

    In a view reminiscent of rainbows on Earth, NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image of Saturn's rings. The photo was taken by the spacecraft on Aug. 22, 2009. According to NASA, this natural-color view was created by merging spectral filters of red, green, and blue into the final image.

  • Saturn’s moon Titan has ‘sea level’ like Earth

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 20th, 2018

    Researchers using data from NASA's Cassini mission have discovered a striking similarity between Earth and Saturn's moon Titan. Just as the surface of Earth's oceans lies at an average elevation referred to as "sea level", Titan's seas also lie at an average elevation. Titan is the only world in our solar system other than Earth known to have stable liquid on its surface. Instead of water, Titan's lakes and seas are filled with hydrocarbons, mostly  methane and ethane. Water ice, covered by a layer of solid organic material, forms the bedrock surrounding these lakes and seas.

  • Titan’s haze captured in Cassini photo

    Jason RhianJanuary 17th, 2018

    Downtown L.A. has got nothing on Saturn's moon Titan, at least in terms of smoggy haze that is. Imagery captured by the Cassini spacecraft prior to its plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017 shows a world blanketed in a dense mist.

  • NASA releases Cassini’s farewell view of Saturn

    Jim SharkeyNovember 28th, 2017

    During the final leg of NASA's Cassini mission at Saturn, the spacecraft took a lingering last look at the planet that has been its home for more than 13 years by snapping a series of images that has been assembled into a new mosaic.

  • Reconstructing Cassini’s final moments

    Jim SharkeyOctober 21st, 2017

    During the Cassini spacecraft's final plunge into Saturn's upper atmosphere on Sept.15, 2017, the spacecraft live-streamed data from eight of its science instruments, providing readings from a variety of engineering systems. While it will take time to analyze all of the data from its plunge, engineers with the Cassini team already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft behaved as it went in.

  • Their words: Cassini’s Hunter Waite and the quest to look beyond

    Matthew KuhnsSeptember 24th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — Peering through the atmospheres of other worlds to determine what they are made of is difficult enough, but to do so reliably for 13 years is an astonishing accomplishment. Hunter Waite, the INMS team leader at SwRI, spoke with SpaceFlight Insider about the mission in the lead-up to Cassini's "final bow".

  • Their words: Cassini’s Linda Spilker on mission’s legacy

    Matthew KuhnsSeptember 23rd, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — When Cassini took its final bow into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant Saturn, a good many people who had labored on the nearly 20-year-long mission were forced to say goodbye to a machine that had become all but a member of the family. One thing that was not lost that day was the wealth of knowledge that Cassini had sent back to those it left behind on Earth.

  • Cassini: The legend and legacy of one of NASA’s most prolific missions

    Ocean McIntyreSeptember 17th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — Just one month shy of twenty years in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft dramatically ended its mission in the early morning hours at approximately 4:55 a.m. PDT (7:55 a.m. EDT / 11:55 GMT) Earth-Received Time (ERT) on Friday, September 15, 2017.

  • Gallery: Controllers receive last signals before Cassini spacecraft demise

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 15th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — With its fuel nearly depleted, Cassini made a final plunge toward Saturn to get as much science as possible before burning up in the planet's atmosphere. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) lost telemetry with the spacecraft, as expected, at about 7:55 a.m. EDT (11:55 GMT) Sept. 15, 2017.

  • LIVE: Cassini spacecraft ends its mission at Saturn

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 15th, 2017

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is making a final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere to end its mission some 13 years after reaching the ringed world. Flight controllers at NASA are receiving the probe’s final data before it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere.

  • Cassini has uncovered a wealth of data on Saturn’s rings

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 19th, 2017

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft, now conducting its final orbits between Saturn and its rings, is plunging further than ever into the giant planet's atmosphere. Over the last 13 years studying the Saturn system, the spacecraft has discovered a wealth of information about the planet's rings.

  • Final five ‘Grand Finale’ orbits will explore Saturn’s upper atmosphere

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 11th, 2017

    Set to begin the final five of its "Grand Finale" orbits next week, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will conduct unprecedented close-up studies of Saturn's upper atmosphere.

  • As dusk sets on NASA’s Cassini mission, Saturn still providing surprises

    Ocean McIntyreJuly 28th, 2017

    After twenty years in space and thirteen years directly observing Saturn and its system of hypnotic rings and moons, the Cassini spacecraft is continuing to tease out tantalizing data from the mysterious ringed beauty about every six days.

  • Cassini images Enceladus’ south polar jets

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 20th, 2017

    NASA's Cassini orbiter has captured a distant view of the mysterious jets emanating from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus, a world that likely harbors a subsurface ocean. The jets are believed to be liquid water being vented from the ocean underneath the moon's icy crust.