The international Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997 and had a marathon 7-year 2-billion mile journey to the distant planet Saturn. The 23-foot tall, 14-foot wide, 6-ton spacecraft is the largest most sophisticated outer planet spacecraft ever built, and went into orbit over 1 year ago. Since July 1, 2004 the spacecraft has been returning extraordinary data about the entire Saturn system: the spectacular rings; the numerous icy satellites with a variety of unique surface features; a huge magnetosphere teeming with particles that interact with the rings and moons; and the intriguing moon Titan, which is slightly larger than the planet Mercury, and whose hazy atmosphere is denser than that of Earth. Today's talk will be an overview of the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn, with a summary of the top science returns of its first two years in orbit.
Feb 6, 2007