A Brief Survey of Cassini’s Remarkable 15 Year Journey to Saturn

Titan and Saturn

Cassini’s historic space journey to Saturn actually began back in 1990 when the onset of the behemoth engineering task was undertaken build the pioneering satellite. It took seven years to build, and was finally launched in October of 1997.  Just one of many “serendipitous” facts about the Cassini mission is that it would ultimately require the extra gravity boost of Venus [ twice ] and Jupiter to propel the tiny satellite all the way to Saturn, in spite of Cassini’s plan to be launched by the mighty Titan rocket, the largest space rocket on earth.  And it “just so happened” that just such a rare planetary alignment of Venus and Jupiter was to occur in the late 1990s which would not occur again for more than 600 years, making the October 1997 launch of Cassini a unique an unparalleled moment of opportunity,  a quite literal catapult into the 21st century of solar system exploration. I find this a remarkable fact about the Cassini Mission.

“Cassini launched in October 1997 with the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe. The probe was equipped with six instruments to study Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. It landed on Titan’s surface on Jan. 14, 2005, and returned spectacular results.”

To say that the journey of the tiny satellite was perilous at points would be an understatement.  As the satellite finally closed in on Saturn, Cassini actually had to pass through the rings of Saturn to achieve proper orbital lock around the giant planet,  risking obliteration by the trillions of rocks and ice particles, some as large as houses. Another serendipitous moment was checked off when the satellite passed through the rings unharmed, a near miraculous achievement.

Further, when the satellite’s smaller exploratory unit was discharged for landing on Titan, the signal it would send back to NASA and EU space scientists  on earth across more than 1 billion kilometers of space announcing it’s landing was no stronger than that of a mobile cell phone at the time.

Today some 15 years later we are treated to a brief photo essay of what Satellite Cassini has discovered, including moons too numerous to remember their names, and color images of the glistening blue lakes of Titan. Perhaps all the scientific focus on Mars has been misplaced. I happen to believe that the future of humankind might possibly be destined to become ever more entwined with the orbit, resources and mysteries of Saturn’s Titan.

Enjoy.

Other Videos Covering Cassini’s Journey Through Space

Cassini Hall of Fame Photo Gallery

First color photograph of the surface of Titan taken by Cassini.

Cassini Creates the First Topographical Map of Titan

Tags: space, solar system, space exploration, Cassini space satellite, Cassini, Saturn, moons of Saturn, Titan, space exploration videos, MIMAS, TITAN, ENCELADUS, DIONE, HYPERION, TETHYS, SATURN-RINGS, RHEA, SATURN, IAPETUS, PHOEBE, SATURN-ERING, HELENE, PANDORA, ATLAS, CALYPSO, PROMETHEUS, JANUS, EPIMETHEUS, TELESTO, SATURN-FRING, SKY, SUN, JUPITER, SATURN-GRING, PAN, UNK, PALLENE, METHONE, POLYDEUCES, SATURN-DRING, DAPHNIS, SKADI, MUNDILFARI, KIVIUQ, IJIRAQ, S18_2004, S8_2004, SIARNAQ, PAALIAQ, S13_2004, S14_2004, TARVOS, ERRIAPO, YMIR, K07S4, ALBIORIX, SUTTUNG, ANTHE, LOGE, THRYM, SKOLL, BESTLA, KARI, ERRIAPUS, AEGAEON, BEBHIONN, HYROKKIN, GREIP, BERGELMIR, SKATHI, SUTTUNGR, S12_2004, TARQEQ, THRYMR, JARNSAXA, SURTUR, HATI, NARVI

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20,000 Applicants From Around the World Are Ready to “Die on Mars” – Introduction to the Mars One Project

Welcome to the new wild wild west:  Mars

mars-colony-pods

PROJECT COST: In excess of 6 billion dollars USD

PROJECTED DEPARTURE DATE:  2023

LOGISTICS: One way ticket

SPECIAL TRAINING: Seven years of special training is required

WHO CAN APPLY:  Anyone anywhere living on planet earth who is ready to land, colonize, live and eventually die on Mars

Wanna Take A Ride? Virgin Galactic Sub-Orbital Space Vehicle Test Flight A Success

Published on Apr 29, 2013

Virgin Galactic is on track to become the world’s first commercial space line.”

– Virgin Galactic co-founder Richard Branson

Richard Branson christens the mothership, sending champagne spraying everywhere.

Set aside terror bombings, teen suicides, endless wars, grinding economic worries and mass media mediocrity and take a moment to begin to dream again. Humankind needs a renewed vision of our species as innovative space explorers. We need a renewed vision for the future of humankind that can thrill and inspire the human heart and cause little children to dream very BIG dreams, dreams that are worthy of learning for, living for, and striving to achieve. Believe it or not, we DO have worthy leaders and cultural heroes living among us.

I consider British space pioneer and entrepreneur Richard Branson to be among those rare and gifted “living sparks” of embodied human inspiration that can give humankind new and beautiful dreams that are well worth pursuing.  There is a reason Branson has more than 3.1 million Twitter followers.  He, unlike almost all of the men who pretend to “lead” in our time, is daring to set the bar high enough to inspire the nation to actually lead the world in space travel once again.

If we rest on past laurels we will be sitting on the sidelines in the next 50 years as China leads the way into space. I, for one, do not want to see that happen. I actually believe in Richard Branson, and I believe his renewed vision for America’s role in space travel could actually resurrect the battered soul of the nation as well as her tattered economy.

If you would like to observe and participate in the new future which is now being imagined for humankind, venture to New Mexico to add your talents to the growing base of human inspiration gathering around Spaceport America, the pride of New Mexico and the hopeful new center for the future of all commercial space travel from our world.  Have a look at the most recent news and happenings at Spaceport America.

Cited:  “Virgin Galactic’s suborbital vehicle makes its first powered ascent on April 29, 2013.  Exceeding Mach 1, but not (yet) trying for ‘space’ altitude, the test was deemed successful by the shipbuilder Scaled Composites.”

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship ignites engine in flight

Explore a time line of Virgin Galactic Achievements from as far back as 1969.

Order your space tickets here. The starting price for flights is $200,000 with refundable deposits starting from $20,000.

Australian Astronomer States A “Mini Solar System” Now Entering Our Solar System

Mini Solar System Entering Ours, Says Astrophysicist Jim McCanney

See also http://www.jmccanneyscience.com/