Amazing Discoveries from Cassini

  • By Ana Aceves
  • Posted 09.15.17
  • NOVA

Relive Cassini's greatest hits from its 13 years studying Saturn.

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Running Time: 02:11

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Amazing Discoveries from Cassini

Published September 15, 2017

Onscreen: 6 Amazing Discoveries from Cassini

#1 Cassini explored Saturn’s rings.

They’re made of billions of particles consisting mostly of water ice, from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a house.

The main rings of Saturn are almost 50,000 miles wide and only about 30 feet thick in most places.

But Cassini discovered areas where the ring particles pile up into mountains two miles high.

#2 Cassini observed Saturn’s northern pole change colors.

During Saturn’s winter, a giant hexagon made primarily of methane gas appears blue. But in the summer, Saturn’s atmosphere reacts to sunlight and forms a golden haze.

#3 Cassini made the first movie of lightning on another planet.

This thunderstorm is larger than the continental U.S. And the lightning bolts are 1,000 times stronger than those on Earth.

#4 Cassini discovered 6 moons. Bringing the known total to more than 60 moons.

Saturn’s moons vary in size and shape.

One of them looks a little like… the Death Star.

#5 Saturn’s moon Titan is the only place in our solar system known to have liquid on its surface—other than Earth.

Instead of water, it’s a mixture of methane and ethane similar to liquid natural gas.

#6 Beneath the icy crust of the moon Enceladus there’s a salty ocean that spews out 1,000 tons of water ice every hour.

And more discoveries should be in store As scientists will continue to study Cassini’s data… Long after the spaceship itself has been destroyed.

Credits

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Digital Producer
Ana Aceves
DEATH DIVE TO SATURN
Writer, Director, and Producer
Terri Randall
Editor
Jedd Ehrmann

FOOTAGE AND GRAPHICS

Visuals
Dreamstime
ESA
ESO
JPL
NASA/JPL/CalTech
ShutterShock
Graphics
Edward Bell

SFX

Music
­APM

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