Rice Space Institute
Physics & Astronomy
Dr. Linda J. Spilker
Cassini Project Scientist
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech
Twenty Sixth Annual Wm. F. Marlar Lecture — "Cassini Science Highlights: Surprises in the Saturn System"
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
to 8:30 PM
McMurtry Auditorium Duncan Hall
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA
Abstract: The Cassini mission has revolutionized our understanding of the Saturn system. Fundamental discoveries have altered our views of Saturn, Titan, the icy moons, the rings, and the magnetosphere. Cassini arrived at Saturn in July 2004, roughly two years after the northern winter solstice, and it has been in orbit around Saturn through spring equinox (August 2009), to date completing its Prime and Equinox Missions, and is now three years into its seven-year Solstice mission. This flagship mission is a cooperative undertaking by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian space agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI).
Key Cassini discoveries include icy jets of material streaming from tiny 'Enceladus' south pole, lakes of liquid hydrocarbon and methane rain on Saturn's giant moon Titan, 3-dimensional structures in Saturn's rings, and curtain-like aurora flickering over Saturn's poles. The Huygens probe landed on Titan and sent back amazing images of the surface. Key Cassini science highlights will be presented.
Reception from 6:30-7:00 p.m. Martel Foyer, Duncan Hall Bldg.