Exploring Saturn nameplate
One of the Most Complex and Ambitious Ventures in the History of Space Exploration
Saturn Rings Moons Titan Cassini Science Huygens Resources

The Best Equipped Planet Probe Ever Sent
Huygens first color picture of Titan from the surface
The first color picture from the surface of Titan by Huygens on January 14, 2005.
The best-equipped spacecraft Earth has ever sent to examine another planet, Cassini was launched in 1997 on a journey of 2.2 billion miles to Saturn. It is the most instrumented and scientifically-capable interplanetary probe ever flown.

The Cassini project is the result of the best technical efforts of 260 scientists from the United States and 17 European nations.    OTHER INTERPLANETARY PROBES FROM EARTH   »»

Tools. The international Cassini-Huygens mission is a complex four-year tour of Saturn, including the planet's majestic rings and 31 known moons. To do the job, the spacecraft are outfitted with 12 instruments on the Cassini orbiter and six on the Huygens probe.

The total of 18 sophisticated science instruments aboard the two spacecraft have and will send back data and images of Saturn's rings, icy satellites, magnetosphere, and Titan, the planet's largest moon.

Huygens. One of the most powerful scientific instruments carried to Saturn by Cassini was the Huygens landing probe, which itself carried half a dozen sensitive instruments to study the atmosphere and surface of Saturn's giant moon Titan.

After Huygens was released from Cassini to drop on Titan, a camera collected more than a thousand images of Titan's surface and clouds. Another instrument used radio signals to measure Titan's winds. Three sensors analyzed the moon's atmosphere. Huygens survived the landing to photograph and measure what it found on smoggy Titan's surface.


The Tools

The Saturn orbiter carries: Cassini scientific instruments are:

What Questions Will Cassini Try to Answer?

Saturn Titan Rings Icy Satellites Magnetosphere Cassini is expected to send 300,000 color pictures by radio to Earth, including 1,100 of the largest moon, Titan. Astronomers hope the images will reveal whether Titan has methane lakes.

Back in 1980 and 1981, the Voyager probes 1 and 2 from Earth flew by Saturn and transmitted more than 30,000 images of the planet to Earth. Unlike the Voyager probes, which were designed to fly by several planets, Cassini is dedicted to research in the vicinity of Saturn.

The Operators

Cassini-Huygens is a project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were built at JPL. Huygens was built by the European Space Agency. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

Top of this page Saturn main page The Planet The Rings The Moons Solar System
Cassini probe Cassini Science Titan moon Huygens Internet Resources
STO Cover Search STO Questions E-Mail Copyright 2005 Space Today Online