Cassini-Huygens’ exploration of the Saturn system: 13 years of discovery
The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn provided a close-up study of the gas giant planet, as well as its rings, moons, and magnetosphere. The Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, dropped the Huygens probe to study the atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s planet-sized moon Titan, and orbited Saturn for the next 13 years. In 2017, when it was running low on fuel, Cassini was intentionally vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere to protect the ocean moons, Enceladus and Titan, where it had discovered habitats potentially suitable for life. Mission findings include Enceladus’ south polar geysers, the source of Saturn’s E ring; Titan’s methane cycle, including rain that creates hydrocarbon lakes; dynamic rings containing ice, silicates, and organics; and Saturn’s differential rotation. This Review discusses highlights of Cassini’s investigations, including the mission’s final year.
- Pub Date:
- June 2019
- PLANET SCI