These two images of Saturn's largest moon Titan were taken by Cassini on October 26, 2004.
Click on image for full size
Images courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.
Cassini Titan Flyby in October 2004
News story originally written on October 28, 2004
The robotic Cassini spacecraft flew by
Saturn's moon Titan on October 26, 2004.
Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and has the thickest atmosphere of any
moon in our Solar System.
Cassini captured what are by far the best images of Titan to date. The images
show regions of dark and bright materials that may indicate a surface shaped
geologic processes, but scientists are not yet certain what to make of
the patterns observed. An assortment
of ten instruments on Cassini recorded data about Titan during the flyby.
One detected unusual proportions of nitrogen isotopes in Titan's atmosphere,
possibly providing clues about the "age" of that atmosphere. Another instruments,
the ion and neutral mass spectrometer, detected a diversity of hydrocarbons
(including benzene and
diacetylene) in the moon's upper atmosphere.
kilometers (730 miles) of the Titan during this close encounter. Cassini,
which is in orbit around Saturn, will fly
past Titan 44 more times in the next four years!
The Huygens lander, which is currently riding piggyback on Cassini, will detach
from the "mothership" and drop to a landing
on Titan in January 2005. Some
atmosphere that Cassini made on this flyby will help scientists better
characterize the moon's atmosphere. The more scientists know about Titan's
atmosphere, the safer they can make Huygens'
entry into and flight through that atmosphere.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The Cassini probe began its journey to Saturn on October 15, 1997. It flew by Earth in August, 1999, before heading towards the distant planet. Cassini passed Jupiter in 2000 and then burned towards its...more
Isotopes are different "versions" of a chemical element. All atoms of an element have the same number of protons. For example, all hydrogen atoms have one proton, all carbon atoms have six protons, and...more
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which is in orbit around Saturn, released the Huygens probe and sent it on its way to Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The probe, pushed away from the Cassini "mothership"...more
NASA’s rover, named Spirit, has successfully landed and will soon be scouting the surface of Mars for interesting geology! Scientists are interested to know whether the depression where Spirit landed...more
On January 16, 2004, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced the cancellation of the final scheduled servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The review board studying the Shuttle Columbia...more
The Cassini spacecraft, en route to Saturn, will zoom past Saturn's odd moon Phoebe on June 11, 2004. Cassini will pass within 2,000 km (1,243 miles) of the moon's surface and should send back images with...more
The robotic Cassini spacecraft flew by Saturn's moon Titan on October 26, 2004. Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and has the thickest atmosphere of any moon in our Solar System. Cassini captured what are...more