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March 3, 2006

Neat View of Titan

Filed under: Space Exploration — Bob @ 9:31 pm


The NASA probe to the Saturn system continues to send back amazing imagery. This one shows Titan with its hazy atmosphere showing through the edges of Saturn’s rings. Here is what the Cassini science team has to say about this image:

Titan’s smoggy atmosphere glows brilliantly in scattered sunlight, creating a thin, gleaming crescent beyond Saturn’s rings. At this slight angle above the ringplane, the thin F ring shines brightly. Light from Titan’s eastern and western limbs (edges) penetrates the Cassini Division, which looks like a thin gap from this angle.

I am continuously amazed as how wonderful and beautiful the natural universe can be. Check out more sights from Saturn at the NASA Cassini website. There are three and a half more years of science to do out there, and plenty of more lovely pictures to see too.

The budget announced by NASA yesterday cuts back on these sorts of science missions, instead putting more money into human space flight especially preparing for a Moon landing in 2018. I definitely look forward to seeing people walking on the surface of our closest celestial neighbor but I find it sad that science flights suffer. I find it hard to rationalize the concept that we must choose between pushing human exploration or expanding human knowledge about the universe around us, but not both.

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