Saturday, January 15, 2005

New Photos Show Titan Has Orange Surface: "New, refined pictures from Saturn's moon Titan released Saturday show a pale orange surface covered by a thin haze of methane and what appears to be a methane sea complete with islands and a mist-shrouded coastline."

"The $3.3 billion Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in a joint effort by NASA, the ESA and the Italian space agency. Huygens was spun off from the Cassini mother ship Dec. 24."

"Titan is the first moon other than the Earth's to be explored."

"Titan's images came streaking across the cosmos Friday, and scientists grew increasingly ecstatic with the scenes from the probe, named after Titan's discoverer, the 17th-century Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens."

"'I think all of us continue to be amazed as we watch our solar system unveil,' NASA science administrator Alphonso Diaz said Friday as the extraordinary images were displayed on screens at mission control in Darmstadt.

"'It challenges all our preconceptions that all these planets are static places.'"

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