May 2004 Top Story Archives



Proximity-1 Communications Protocol Enables High-Speed Communication at Mars »» Proximity-1 Communications Protocol Enables High-Speed Communication at Mars

[Monday, May 03, 2004] Proximity-1, a communications protocol developed by the CCSDS, was instrumental in the success of a recent first-ever demonstration of in-orbit communication between NASA's Rover Spirit and ESA's Mars Express (MEX) orbiter.

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Scientists See Through the Dark Ages of the Universe »» Scientists See Through the Dark Ages of the Universe

[Tuesday, May 04, 2004] Astronomers who want to study the early universe face a fundamental problem. How do you observe what existed during the "dark ages," before the first stars formed to light it up?

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Plan for global Earth monitoring agreed at Tokyo summit »» Plan for global Earth monitoring agreed at Tokyo summit

[Tuesday, May 04, 2004] Representatives from 47 countries and more than two dozen international organisations met in Tokyo last week, coming a significant step closer to achieving the goal of an integrated Earth monitoring network.

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Study May Cast Doubt on Some 1996 NASA Evidence of Past Life on Mars »» Study May Cast Doubt on Some 1996 NASA Evidence of Past Life on Mars

[Wednesday, May 05, 2004] The scientific debate over whether a meteorite contains evidence of past life on Mars continues to intensify, with colleagues of the team that announced the possibility in 1996 revealing new findings that may cast doubt on some of that earlier work.

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New interpretation of satellite measurements confirms global warming »» New interpretation of satellite measurements confirms global warming

[Wednesday, May 05, 2004] For years the debate about climate change has had a contentious sticking point - satellite measurements of temperatures in the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere where most weather occurs, were inconsistent with fast-warming surface temperatures.

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NOAA Deactivates GOES-8 After 10 Years of Service »» NOAA Deactivates GOES-8 After 10 Years of Service

[Wednesday, May 05, 2004] NOAA will boost GOES-8 into an orbit 350 kilometers above its original geostationary position, where it will be deactivated and disposed safely in three controlled burns.

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Lifting the Veils of Titan »» Lifting the Veils of Titan

[Thursday, May 06, 2004] The Cassini spacecraft which is fast approaching Saturn offers this first glimpse of the surface of Titan, a world where scientists believe organic matter rains from hazy skies and seas of liquid hydrocarbons dot a frigid surface.

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NASA Introduces Astronaut Class of 2004 »» NASA Introduces Astronaut Class of 2004

[Thursday, May 06, 2004] NASA's 2004 astronaut candidate class was introduced today during Space Day activities at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

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Mars Rover Arrival at Deeper Crater Provides a Tempting Eyeful »» Mars Rover Arrival at Deeper Crater Provides a Tempting Eyeful

[Thursday, May 06, 2004] Scientists and engineers celebrated when they saw the first pictures NASA's Opportunity sent from the rim of a stadium-sized crater that the rover reached after a six-week trek across martian flatlands.

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NASA's New Astronaut Class: It's been a long road, getting from there to here »» NASA's New Astronaut Class: It's been a long road, getting from there to here

[Thursday, May 06, 2004] NASA formally announced its new astronaut class today in a somewhat unusual (but appropriate) venue: a hangar filled with school children, historic aerospace artifacts, and a cultural icon.

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NASA Genesis Spacecraft On Final Lap Toward Home »» NASA Genesis Spacecraft On Final Lap Toward Home

[Friday, May 07, 2004] The Genesis mission was launched in August of 2001 to capture samples from the storehouse of 99-percent of all the material in our solar system - the Sun.

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Presentation: BAA for Concept Exploration & Refinement NASA Office of Exploration Systems Presolicitation Conference »» Presentation: BAA for Concept Exploration & Refinement NASA Office of Exploration Systems Presolicitation Conference

[Saturday, May 08, 2004] NASA presented an overview of the current planning for the acquisition strategy to implement the Vision for Space Exploration including near-term plans and schedule for the first Broad Agency Announcement for Concept Exploration and Refinement.    

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Three Billion Euros contract for 30 Ariane 5 launchers »» Three Billion Euros contract for 30 Ariane 5 launchers

[Monday, May 10, 2004] At the Berlin Airshow Arianespace signed a contract for the production of 30 Ariane 5 launchers. The value of this order is about 3 billion Euros.

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Leading Space Groups Agree: It's Time For The Moon, Mars And Beyond »» Leading Space Groups Agree: It's Time For The Moon, Mars And Beyond

[Monday, May 10, 2004] In an unprecedented show of unity, 13 of the nation's premier space advocacy groups, industry associations and space policy organizations have teamed up to support the effort to refocus NASA's human space activities toward exploration.

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NASA Chandra Observatory Sees Giant Galaxy's Violent Past »» NASA Chandra Observatory Sees Giant Galaxy's Violent Past

[Monday, May 10, 2004] Long-exposure images of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, together with radio observations, have provided spectacular evidence of repetitive outbursts from the vicinity of the galaxy's supermassive black hole.

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XMM-Newton detects X-ray 'solar cycle' in distant star »» XMM-Newton detects X-ray 'solar cycle' in distant star

[Monday, May 10, 2004] ESA's XMM-Newton has now revealed for the first time a cyclic behaviour in the X-ray radiation emitted by a star similar to the Sun. This discovery may help scientists to understand how stars affect the development of life on their planets.

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Two Extremely Hot Exoplanets Caught in Transit »» Two Extremely Hot Exoplanets Caught in Transit

[Tuesday, May 11, 2004] Several planetary transit surveys are attempting to find the faint signatures of other worlds, by means of stellar photometric measurements, searching for the periodic dimming of a star as a planet passes in front of its disc.

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NASA Spitzer Space Telescope Shares The Wealth »» NASA Spitzer Space Telescope Shares The Wealth

[Tuesday, May 11, 2004] The Spitzer Science Archive now provides astronomers access to the infrared telescope's data well before the mission's one-year anniversary in space.

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Hubble Sees Dying Star Sculpt Rings of Gas and Dust »» Hubble Sees Dying Star Sculpt Rings of Gas and Dust

[Wednesday, May 12, 2004] Astronomers may not have observed the fabled "Stairway to Heaven," but they have photographed something almost as intriguing: ladder-like structures surrounding a dying star.

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Letter to NASA about Your Human Space Flight Programs from Don Peterson, an Old Former Astronaut - Taxpayer »» Letter to NASA about Your Human Space Flight Programs from Don Peterson, an Old Former Astronaut - Taxpayer

[Wednesday, May 12, 2004] "I have watched the things NASA folks have been able to do with admiration and a touch of awe. But I have to admit, I need some help trying to understand exactly what NASA is trying to do."

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Transit of Venus Across the Sun on 8 June 2004 »» Transit of Venus Across the Sun on 8 June 2004

[Wednesday, May 12, 2004] On Tuesday 8 June, observers will be able to witness a very rare astronomical phenomenon when the planet Venus lines up directly between Earth and the Sun.

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Robotic Servicing/Deorbit Module Draft Solicitation »» NASA Hubble Space Telescope Robotic Servicing/Deorbit Module Draft Solicitation

[Wednesday, May 12, 2004] This CEI Specification establishes the requirements for the design, performance, and verification of the HST Robotic Vehicle, which will be launched from an Expendable Launch Vehicle and will autonomously rendezvous and capture with the HST.

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NASA and NSF Research Yields Evidence of Meteor Impact Off Coast of Australia »» NASA and NSF Research Yields Evidence of Meteor Impact Off Coast of Australia

[Thursday, May 13, 2004] An impact crater believed to be associated with the "Great Dying," the largest extinction event in the history of life on Earth, appears to be buried off the coast of Australia.

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SpaceShipOne Completes Third Powered Flight »» SpaceShipOne Completes Third Powered Flight

[Thursday, May 13, 2004] This morning, the SpaceShipOne team completed another successful test of key systems on the SpaceShipOne reusable launch vehicle (RLV) and its carrier aircraft, White Knight.

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ESA's Envisat Shows Erupting volcano casts shadow on Russian peninsula »» ESA's Envisat Shows Erupting volcano casts shadow on Russian peninsula

[Friday, May 14, 2004] The most northerly active volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula is once again erupting, dusting the surrounding snow-white landscape with a wide expanse of dark ash that is visible from 800 km away in space.

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Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group to Issue Second Interim Report »» Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group to Issue Second Interim Report

[Monday, May 17, 2004] The Task Group is issuing their second interim report on May 19. The group is making an independent assessment of NASA's implementation of the CAIB Space Shuttle Return to flight recommendations.

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Opportunity Inspects Stone Ejected From Crater »» Opportunity Inspects Stone Ejected From Crater

[Monday, May 17, 2004] Opportunity has begun sampling rocks blasted out from a stadium-sized impact crater the rover is circling, and the very first one may extend our understanding about the region's wet past.

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Japan's Hayabusa acquires images of Earth and the moon »» Japan's Hayabusa acquires images of Earth and the moon

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] Hayabusa, which is coming closer to the Earth for a swing-by, successfully acquired images of the Earth and the moon on May 16th and 17th. The images were taken by the Asteroid Multiband Imaging Camera (AMICA).

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IKONOS Satellite Image of U.S. National World War II Memorial »» IKONOS Satellite Image of U.S. National World War II Memorial

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] In honor of the official dedication of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Space Imaging collected a new satellite image of the monument on May 14, 2004.

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Former Astronaut Don Peterson's Ideas for Future Human Flight Programs »» Former Astronaut Don Peterson's Ideas for Future Human Flight Programs

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] "Is it really more efficient and effective to launch the Mars vehicle from the moon? (I must be missing something!)"

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NASA Loans First Columbia Debris for Research »» NASA Loans First Columbia Debris for Research

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] The first pieces of Space Shuttle Columbia debris, loaned to a non-governmental agency for testing and research, are on their way from NASA's Kennedy Space Center to The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, Calif.

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Theory Proposes New View of Sun and Earth's Creation »» Theory Proposes New View of Sun and Earth's Creation

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] Like most creation stories, this one is dramatic: we began, not as a mere glimmer buried in an obscure cloud, but instead amidst the glare and turmoil of restless giants.

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LONEOS Discovers Asteroid with the Smallest Orbit »» LONEOS Discovers Asteroid with the Smallest Orbit

[Thursday, May 20, 2004] The ongoing search for near-Earth asteroids at Lowell Observatory has yielded another interesting object. Designated 2004 JG6, this asteroid was found in the course of LONEOS on the evening of May 10 by observer Brian Skiff.

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Starburst Eye of a Galaxy Produces a Cosmic Shower »» Starburst Eye of a Galaxy Produces a Cosmic Shower

[Friday, May 21, 2004] Combining images from orbiting and ground-based telescopes, an international team of astronomers has located the eye of a cosmic hurricane: the source of the 1 million mile-per-hour winds that shower intergalactic space from the galaxy M82.

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Evidence That Asteroids Change Color as They Age »» Evidence That Asteroids Change Color as They Age

[Friday, May 21, 2004] In an article published in the journal Nature, a team led by Robert Jedicke of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy provides convincing evidence that asteroids change color as they age.

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New findings on climate show gradual shift to modern but increased sensitivity to perturbations »» New findings on climate show gradual shift to modern but increased sensitivity to perturbations

[Friday, May 21, 2004] Earth's climate system is more sensitive to perturbations now than it was in the distant past. Findings suggest a previously unrecognized role for tropical and subtropical regions in controlling the sensitivity of the climate to change.

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2004 FAA/COMSTAC NGSO Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts »» 2004 FAA/COMSTAC NGSO Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts

[Friday, May 21, 2004] The FAA's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) have prepared forecasts of global demand for commercial space launch services for the period 2004 to 2013.

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NASA Office of Exploration Systems Intramural Call For Proposals - Human & Robotic Technology 2004 »» NASA Office of Exploration Systems Intramural Call For Proposals - Human & Robotic Technology 2004

[Saturday, May 22, 2004] This Call for Proposals solicits research and technology development proposals from NASA investigators in support of the following H&RT Programs: Advanced Space Technology, Technology Maturation, and Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships

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Making Black Holes Go 'Round on the Computer »» Making Black Holes Go 'Round on the Computer

[Monday, May 24, 2004] Scientists at Penn State have reached a new milestone in the effort to model two orbiting black holes, an event expected to spawn strong gravitational waves.

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NASA to Announce Discovery about Planet Forming Discs Around Stars »» NASA to Announce Discovery about Planet Forming Discs Around Stars

[Monday, May 24, 2004] NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope discoveries about planet- forming discs around stars, and possible evidence of what may be the youngest planet ever found outside our solar system, will be presented at the next Space Science Update (SSU).

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Happy Anniversary to a Galactic Explorer! »» Happy Anniversary to a Galactic Explorer!

[Monday, May 24, 2004] In the one year since launch, NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has captured dazzling images of the universe, including this view of M81 and M82, galaxies 10 million light-years away.

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NASA Cassini Officially Enters the Saturn Planetary System »» NASA Cassini Officially Enters the Saturn Planetary System

[Monday, May 24, 2004] Last Tuesday, May 18, Cassini officially entered the Saturn planetary system, where the gravitational pull of Saturn overtook the influence of the Sun and we crossed the outer limits of the most distant group of Saturnian moons.

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Progress M-49 Launched from Baikonur »» Progress M-49 Launched from Baikonur

[Tuesday, May 25, 2004] An unmanned Russian Progress resupply ship blasted off today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to deliver 2 1/2 tons of food, water, fuel and supplies to the residents of the International Space Station.

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Dinosaurs Died Within Hours After Asteroid Hit »» Dinosaurs Died Within Hours After Asteroid Hit

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] According to new research, an asteroid that hit Earth 65 million years ago probably incinerated all the large dinosaurs that were alive at the time in only a few hours, and only those organisms already sheltered in burrows or in water were left alive.

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Close-up Image of Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) »» Close-up Image of Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT)

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] The image was taken with the Mosaic I camera, which has a one-square degree field of view, or about five times the size of the Moon. Even with this large field, only the comet's coma and the inner portion of its tail are visible.

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Quasars: Cosmic powerhouses dwelling in humble homes »» Quasars: Cosmic powerhouses dwelling in humble homes

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] Quasars, the most brilliant of cosmic fireworks, appear to shine forth from humdrum galaxies in the early universe, not the giant or disrupted ones astronomers expected.

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NASA Cassini Image: Swirls of Clouds on Saturn »» NASA Cassini Image: Swirls of Clouds on Saturn

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] This image shows dramatic details in the swirling, turbulent bands of clouds in Saturn's atmosphere. Particularly noteworthy is the disturbed equatorial region.

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NASA Releases Mission Requirements For Proposed Jupiter Mission »» NASA Releases Mission Requirements For Proposed Jupiter Mission

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] NASA has issued its mission design requirements to three industry teams for a proposed mission to Jupiter and its three icy moons. The requirements are also the first product formulated by NASA's new Office of Exploration Systems in Washington.

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Thick marine beds of siderite suggest early high carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere »» Thick marine beds of siderite suggest early high carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] Carbon dioxide and oxygen, not methane, were prevalent in the Earth's atmosphere more than 1.8 billion years ago as shown by the absence of siderite in ancient soils but the abundance of the mineral in ocean sediments from that time.

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Discovery of tiny microbes in ancient Greenland glacier may define limits for life on Earth »» Discovery of tiny microbes in ancient Greenland glacier may define limits for life on Earth

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] The discovery of microbes in a 120,000-year-old ice sample taken from 3,000 meters below the surface of a Greenland glacier may help to define the limits for life on Earth as well as elsewhere in the universe, such as on cold planets like Mars.

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NASA's Hubble and Cassini View Saturn From Far And Near »» NASA's Hubble and Cassini View Saturn From Far And Near

[Wednesday, May 26, 2004] As Saturn grows closer through the eyes of the Cassini spacecraft, both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope snapped spectacular pictures of the planet and its magnificent rings.

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Rosetta's scientific 'first' - observation of Comet Linear »» Rosetta's scientific 'first' - observation of Comet Linear

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] The first phase of commissioning ESA's comet-chaser Rosetta is close to completion and Rosetta has successfully performed its first scientific activity - observation of Comet Linear.

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Double Stars Emerge as New Heavyweight Champions »» Double Stars Emerge as New Heavyweight Champions

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] About 20,000 light-years from Earth, two massive stars grapple with each other like sumo wrestlers locked in combat. Both giants, each weighing in at around 80 times the mass of our Sun, are the heaviest stars ever.

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The Odyssey of NASA Mars Odyssey's 10,000 Orbits »» The Odyssey of NASA Mars Odyssey's 10,000 Orbits

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] Odyssey deserves her own praise and applause this Saturday as she reaches a major milestone. At 5:29 p.m. PDT on May 22, 2004, Odyssey is scheduled to complete her 10,000th science mapping orbit around the red planet.

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Progess M-49 Docks with ISS »» Progess M-49 Docks with ISS

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] An unmanned Russian resupply ship smoothly linked up to the International Space Station this morning, delivering two and a half tons of food, water, fuel, spare parts and supplies to the two residents on board.

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Spitzer Telescope Discovers Raw Ingredients for Life in Planetary Construction Zone »» Spitzer Telescope Discovers Raw Ingredients for Life in Planetary Construction Zone

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] New findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope include the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout several "planetary construction zones," or dusty planet-forming discs, which circle infant stars.

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NEO News: Spaceguard Progress »» NEO News: Spaceguard Progress

[Thursday, May 27, 2004] At the end of 2003, there were 2600 known Near Earth Asteroids. Of these 691 are brighter than absolute magnitude H=18, which is taken to correspond to 1 km diameter. Of these, 131 are classed as PHAs (potentially hazardous asteroids) larger than 1 km.

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Milky way churning out new stars at a furious pace »» Milky way churning out new stars at a furious pace

[Friday, May 28, 2004] Some of the first data from a new orbiting infrared telescope are revealing that the Milky Way - and by analogy galaxies in general - is making new stars at a much more prolific pace than astronomers imagined.

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NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Pandora and Prometheus Near F Ring »» NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Pandora and Prometheus Near F Ring

[Monday, May 31, 2004] Two of Saturn's moon's Prometheus (102 kilometers, or 63 miles across) and Pandora (84 kilometers, or 52 miles across), are seen here shepherding the planet's narrow F-ring. Prometheus overtakes Pandora in orbit around Saturn about every 25 days.

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NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Rings and Shadows »» NASA Cassini Saturn Image: Rings and Shadows

[Monday, May 31, 2004] Saturn's rings cast threadlike shadows on the planet's northern hemisphere. Note the translucent C ring, and thin outermost F ring.

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