Current & Future Missions
Cassini-Huygens to Saturn
Launch: October 15,1997
A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, Cassini arrived at Saturn in June 2004 carrying a record number of 12 instruments. The mission is an intensive study of Saturn's rings, its moons and magnetosphere. Cassini released the Huygens probe towards Saturn's largest moon, Titan and the probe successfully landed on the moon's surface in January 2005.
Titan and Enceladus Mission
Primary goals are to understand the atmosphere, surface and interior, to determine the chemistry, and to derive constraints on the origin and evolution of Titan and of the saturnian system as a whole, with an emphasis on Enceladus.
Note: Following the joint ESA-NASA decision in February 2009 to further pursue the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM), the studies concerning the TandEM mission concept within ESA have been terminated.
The Rings of Saturn
You are cruising in the troposphere of Saturn under the most magnificent ring structure in the solar system. Few sights are more astounding. The white, icy rings soar 75,000 kilometers above your head. Ringshine illuminates everything around you. No fewer than six crescent moons rise in the sky. The light from the setting sun scatters against a mist of ammonia crystals, forming a beautiful sun dog. You are buffeted by ammonia clouds that stream by you at speeds greater than 1,500 kilometers an hour. These are some of the fastest winds in the solar system. More than 30,000 kilometers below you, with pressures no human-made thing could survive, is a global ocean of liquid metallic hydrogen. There will be no landing on this planet.
Hear Lightning on Saturn
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Cassini's Radio and Plama Wave Science instrument recorded this audio clip of lightning, deep in Saturn's atmosphere. The sound of the lightning strikes from this strong thunderstorm has been time compressed by a factor of 260. This means that the 28 second clip represents two hours of the storm.
Eclipse of Saturn
A stunning image from Cassini
The Sound of Saturn's Rings

On June 30, 2004, as the Cassini spacecraft flew into and out of Saturn's ring plane, its high-gain antenna was bombarded with dust particles. The hailstone-like sounds that were produced were recorded by Cassini's radio and plasma wave science instrument. Similar sound was recorded as the spacecraft left the planet and again passed through the ring plane.
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