The Cassini program is an international cooperative effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), as well as several separate European academic and industrial contributors. The Cassini partnership represents an undertaking whose scope and cost would not likely be borne by any single nation, but is made possible through shared investment and participation. Through the mission, about 260 scientists from 17 countries hope to gain a better understanding of Saturn, its stunning rings, its magnetosphere, Titan and its other icy moons.
This is the third video made with Cassini imagery that has gone viral over the last few years — the others: Cassini Mission by Chris Abbas and Outer Space by Sander van den Berg. Perhaps that popularity reflects just how incredible it is to see these up close glimpses of the sixth planet from 900 million miles away.
Against the stunning backdrop of the glaciers of Alaska, Brian reveals his fourth Wonder. Saturn’s moon Titan is shrouded by a murky, thick atmosphere. He reveals that below the clouds lies a magical world. Titan is the only place beyond Earth where we’ve found liquid pooling on the surface in vast lakes, as big as the Caspian Sea, but the lakes of Titan are filled with a mysterious liquid, and are quite unlike anything on Earth.
I can’t be the only one obsessed with Saturn and its moons, right?
The two Voyagers sent back tens of thousands of images… of planetary realms more diverse than anyone had imagined. These long-distance marathon flyers - both now headed out towards interstellar space - made discoveries about the planetary chemistry that make these gas giants appear to us as gigantic works of abstract art.
The Voyagers disclosed new details about their magnetic fields, atmospheres, ring systems, and even the nature of their inner cores. Voyager turned up some surprising new mysteries too: a huge dark spot — a storm in fact - on Neptune. They found that Uranus is tipped 90 degrees to one side. That Saturn is less dense than water; if you had a bathtub big enough, Saturn would float!
And that you’d need the mass of three Saturns to make just one Jupiter! But what really knocked the scientists’ socks off were the moons that orbit these gas giants. All of them have been pummeled over the millennia by wayward asteroids and comets.
But a few appear to also be sculpted by forces below their icy surfaces…