The Cassini-Huygens mission is for Saturn the mission that
is for Jupiter. Cassini is the first
probe to maintain an orbit around Saturn and carried with her a smaller probe for the exploration of
was lunched in 1997, and arrived at her destination in 2004. She will continue her mission until 2008.
The objectives of the mission are to better understand the magnetic field, the moons and the rings
of Saturn as well as their interactions with each other.
Cassini is NASA's project where as Huygens was ESA's. In 2005, the little probe left Cassini and descended into Titan's atmosphere.
It slowed it's descent with parachutes and dropped softly onto the satellites surface. It sent back readings for a few hours before becoming
inactive as planned.
Cassini discovered cryovolcanic activity on Enceladus
and showed how little irregular satellites
(the shepherd moons) influenced the shape of the rings.
Above and beyond the initial objectives of scientists, it has proved to be a great opportunity for some amazing picture taking. The moons and rings are so numerous
that "random meetings" frequent. The shadow play between the rings and the planet are just are beautiful.