Wednesday, June 16, 2004


If you've been in tune with space news, you know that the Cassini probe is ending its long journey to Saturn at the beginning of next month. The probe will be to Saturn what Gallileo was to Jupiter, although even more so, as it will drop a seperate probe onto Saturn's moon, Titan, one of the only moons in the solar system to have an atmosphere - and, to boot, an atmosphere made of possible preorganic compounds, meaning it's practically swimming in the primordal soup of life.

Cassini is approaching Saturn, and recently preformed a flyby of Phoebe, one of Saturn's outermost moons, and a strange object because it orbits in the opposite direction of Saturn's other satellites, and it appears to be made up of stuff from the early part of the solar system - possibly a comet, or a piece of the Oort cloud. Cassini got some great pictures of Phoebe, and scientists are already deducing that it appears to be a big piece of ice, covered in a thin film of dark stuff, which means it very likely could be a comet.

Ciclops is the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations, and they seem to be adding three of four high-resolution images to their site every day from Cassini. I expect this to increase in the coming months, as the probe begins its final orbit around Saturn and drops its cargo onto Titan.

Space: it's really fucking cool.

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