Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A More Distant Voyager

The Cassini-Huygens mission, a joint undertaking of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and several other organizations, was sent on its way October 15, 1997, to investigate Saturn as well as Titan (one of Saturn’s moons). Some scientists believe that Titan might support life or, at least, offer conditions in which life could develop. The mission was named Cassini, in honor of the seventeenth-century French-Italian astronomer Jean Dominique Cassini, who discovered the prominent gap in Saturn’s main rings; and Huygens, after the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, who discovered the Saturn moon Titan in 1655, as well as the rings of Saturn. It recently transmitted dramatic images of Jupiter as it sped past on its way to Saturn.

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