Cassini-Huygens exploration of the Saturn System


Date Thursday June 23rd 2005
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan, a joint venture of NASA and the European Space Agency, was launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in July 2004 for a four-year, 75-orbit tour of the Saturn system. After several months of new observations of the planet, its moons, and its magnificent ring system, the ESA-built Huygens probe entered the thick, hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s planet-sized moon Titan, and obtained unique data during its descent, including images of riverbeds and swampy lowlands. The talk will describe the mission, the spacecraft, and the new observations and insights we are obtaining on this “jewel of the solar system”.


Jeff Cuzzi's main interests are in planetary system origin and evolution. Trained as a planetary radio astronomer, he observed Saturn with the NRAO interferometer in 1975, coincidentally with the exciting discovery of radar backscattering from the rings. Jeff was invited to join the Voyager Imaging team in 1978, and led the team's rings subgroup through planning of all Saturn,Uranus, and Neptune encounter ring observations, another exciting time for ring studies. He has received several awards from NASA and the AIAA for his research on planetary rings, and in 1989 he was selected as Interdisciplinary Scientist for Rings on the NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission. Jeff is also actively studying how fluid dynamics and turbulence might have played a role in accumulating the very earliest primitive objects (comets and asteroids) such as reflected in the meteorite record.

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