Round and Round

Just as Saturn's famous hexagonal shaped jet stream encircles the planet's north pole, the rings encircle the planet, as seen from Cassini's position high above. Around and around everything goes! This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 43 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Nov. 23, 2013 using a spectral filter that preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 97 degrees. Image scale is 93 miles (150 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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NASA Administrator Bolden, Senator Mikulski View Progress on James Webb Space Telescope

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland congratulated the James Webb Space Telescope team Monday for the delivery of all flight instruments and primary mirrors to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

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Churning atmosphere on Saturn

Like a swirl from a paintbrush being dipped in water, this image from the Cassini orbiter shows the progress of a massive storm on Saturn. The storm first developed in December 2010, and this mosaic captures how it appeared on 6 March 2011.

The head of the storm is towards the left of the image, where the most turbulent activity is shown in white, but towards the centre you can also see the trace of a spinning vortex in the wake of the storm.

This image, centred at about 0º longitude and 35º N latitude, has had its colours enhanced to help reveal the complex processes in Saturn’s weather. The white corresponds to the highest cloud tops, but to the human eye the storm would appear more as a bright area against a yellow background.

Cassini also monitored the temperature of the storm, showing a rapid spike as energy was released into the atmosphere.

The storm grew so large that on Earth it would easily cover all of Europe. Atmospheric disturbances of this size can be expected once during each of Saturn’s orbits around the Sun, which takes 30 Earth years. However, this particular event surprised scientists by occurring during the northern hemisphere spring, rather than the more typically stormy Saturnian summer.

The Cassini–Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and Italy’s ASI space agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC.

This image was first published in the NASA JPL Image Gallery in January 2013.

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Churning atmosphere on Saturn

Like a swirl from a paintbrush being dipped in water, this image from the Cassini orbiter shows the progress of a massive storm on Saturn. The storm first developed in December 2010, and this mosaic captures how it appeared on 6 March 2011.

The head of the storm is towards the left of the image, where the most turbulent activity is shown in white, but towards the centre you can also see the trace of a spinning vortex in the wake of the storm.

This image, centred at about 0º longitude and 35º N latitude, has had its colours enhanced to help reveal the complex processes in Saturn’s weather. The white corresponds to the highest cloud tops, but to the human eye the storm would appear more as a bright area against a yellow background.

Cassini also monitored the temperature of the storm, showing a rapid spike as energy was released into the atmosphere.

The storm grew so large that on Earth it would easily cover all of Europe. Atmospheric disturbances of this size can be expected once during each of Saturn’s orbits around the Sun, which takes 30 Earth years. However, this particular event surprised scientists by occurring during the northern hemisphere spring, rather than the more typically stormy Saturnian summer.

The Cassini–Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and Italy’s ASI space agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC.

This image was first published in the NASA JPL Image Gallery in January 2013.

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter at Mars. TGO will be launched in 2016 with Schiaparelli, the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module. It will search for evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes on Mars. TGO will also serve as a communications relay for the rover and surface science platform that will be launched in 2018.

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Monitoring lake ice

In northern Alaska, within the Arctic circle, the ice regimes of shallow lakes were documented using 79 radar images from the ERS-1 and -2 satellites. How the radar signals bounced back to the sensor indicated ‘floating ice’ versus ‘grounded ice’ (fully frozen lake) when radar energy was absorbed into the ground. The data showed that from 1992 to 2011 the lakes in this region experienced a 22% reduction in grounded ice – the equivalent of ice thinning by 21–38 cm.

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