Video Transcript: Open House: Cassini

› Download Transcript
[00:00:00]
Cassini

[00:00:04]
[00:00:12]
In 1997, a spacecraft the size of a school bus was launched by JPL with a mission to explore the fascinating ringed planet Saturn and its many moons.

[00:00:24]
Seven years and 2.2 billion miles of travel later, Cassini arrived.

[00:00:27]
Dave Doody, Cassini Real Time Operations Lead We are studying the atmosphere of Saturn, the rings,

[00:00:29]
the moons, the magnetic environment, and sending all of the data back to Earth.

[00:00:36]
Jo Pitesky, PlanetQuest Scientist and Cassini Science Planner We have seen for the first time that there is material coming off from the surface of the moon

[00:00:46]
and streaming out behind it, and we see that it is forming part of the rings.

[00:00:46]
We are only finding out now how old they are, how young some of them are, did they come from an old broken up satellite?

[00:00:54]
Are they still being regenerated? Why have they lasted so long?

[00:00:58]
Since its arrival at Saturn in 2004, Cassini has continuously revealed the secrets of the planet and its moons.

[00:01:08]
Scott Edgington, Cassini Scientist So it’s really cold, and we are seeing a lot of these lakes.

[00:01:12]
It’s really the land of lakes, more than Minnesota.The surface temperature on Titan is very very cold.

[00:01:17]
Water ice is hard as a rock; it’s not going to be a liquid, so we know that water ice is not forming these lakes.

[00:01:27]
However if you go back to the atmosphere, you have natural gas - methane.

[00:01:31]
Its properties are just right, the temperatures are just right, that it condenses, forms rivers and eventually these lakes.

[00:01:41]
Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, is a gas giant.

[00:01:44]
Studying Saturn, its rings and its moons will help us understand more about how our entire solar system works.

[00:01:52]
Todd Barber, Cassini Propulsion Engineer Saturn is like the solar system as a whole and miniature.

[00:01:56]
You start to answer questions that we want to know about life on Earth, like how did life start here?

[00:01:59]
How did the solar system form? You can study that on a smaller scale with Saturn.

[00:02:06]
Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

[00:02:21]
› Download Transcript