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Titan up close
Scientists reveal stunning pictures of Saturn's moon Titan and other results during this news conference from July 3. (38min 17sec file)
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Saturn ring pictures
Cassini's stunning close-up images of the rings around Saturn, taken just after the craft entered orbit Thursday morning, are presented with expert narration by Carolyn Porco, the mission imaging team leader. (8min 39sec file)
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Stunning true-color picture of Saturn's rings
CASSINI PHOTO RELEASE
Posted: July 22, 2004

With shimmering pinks, hues of gray and a hint of brown, a newly released image of Saturn's rings resembles a fresco where nature is the painter. The Cassini spacecraft captured this exquisite natural color view a few days before entering orbit around Saturn.


Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download a larger image version here

 
The images that make up this composition were obtained from Cassini's vantage point beneath the ring plane with the narrow angle camera on June 21, 2004. The image was taken at a distance of 6.4 million kilometers (4 million miles) from Saturn.

The brightest part of the rings, curving from the upper right to the lower left in the image, is the B ring. Many bands throughout the B ring have a pronounced sandy color. Other color variations across the rings can be seen. Color variations in Saturn's rings have previously been seen in Voyager and Hubble Space Telescope images. Cassini images show that color variations in the rings are more distinct in this viewing geometry than they are when seen from Earth.

Saturn's rings are made primarily of water ice. Since pure water ice is white, it is believed that different colors in the rings reflect different amounts of contamination by other materials, such as rock or carbon compounds. In conjunction with information from other Cassini instruments, Cassini images will help scientists determine the composition of Saturn's ring system.

In the 1980s, two Voyager spacecraft flew by Saturn as did Pioneer 11 in 1979. Those fly-by missions raised tantalizing questions that can now be addressed by Cassini's planned four year tour. Scientists have waited 25 years for an opportunity to answer these questions. 

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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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Expedition 21
The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.
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Hubble Patch
The official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase.
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