NASA has sent five different spacecraft namely Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Huygens, and Cassini to study Saturn and its seven rings to date. The Cassini spacecraft has revealed various interesting facts about life on Saturn’s moons. This least dense planet in the solar system has 82 moons among which 53 are named and 29 await confirmation. Cassini was launched in1997 and has been active for more than 20 years now and entered Saturn’s orbit in 2004. Here are some of the notable facts about the mission’s discoveries.
Which Is the Largest Planet in the Universe?
- A. Saturn
- B. Earth
- C. Neptune
- D. Jupiter
Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest moon in the solar system. A fascinating fact about this large natural satellite is the presence of water in it. Studies from Cassini reveal large lakes of methane and ethane on the surface of Titan. Scientists have also found that these compounds fall like rain from the sky.
It is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn and is mostly covered by ice. It is also one of the most reflective bodies in the solar system. The Cassini mission has found that Enceladus has subsurface oceans in the subpolar region and that there are jets through which the oceanic heat escapes. The evidence of vents is something similar to those found on Earth. Scientists state that Enceladus has all the components such as water, food, and heat for chances of life and habitat.
Did you know that the Dead Star in Star Wars is based on Mimas? Yes, Mimas looks like a dead star and measures the same size as Enceladus. It is said that Mimas is rounded in shape because of self-gravitation. Scientists have discovered that there may be subsurface oceans in Mimas too. There are no jets like in the case of Enceladus, but there might be a water-ice core, say researchers.
Red arcs on Tethys and thin atmospheres around the moons Dione and Rhea are some of the other observations made by the scientists at NASA.