As my attention is turned more and more to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I have to admit that I’m getting confused with all the various missions. Now that I’m starting to get regular press releases from JPL, they’re all starting to run together. After only last year bemoaning the loss of the Space Shuttle program, it is shocking to discover just how much is really going on in space!
So, while the JPL website lists all its programs in alphabetical order, I thought I’d take the time to list out the more news-making missions here:
There seems no limit to the things Cassini reveals about our mysterious outer neighbors in the Solar System…
After analyzing the paths of Saturn’s moons, scientists discovered the origins of some of the strange trails they’d previously noticed perforating the rings, specifically the F-ring. It turns out that the moon itself passes through this ring and in so doing, picks up the ice and dust particles that make the ring what it is and carries them along in its wake. Presto! Instant “mini-jet,” as science has known them for some time.
And it turns out that these trails are not just created by moons like Prometheus. Some objects as small as a kilometer wide do the same thing. Check out the last image, which removes Saturn from the shot and emphasizes the F-ring mini-jets. Amazing stuff!
Unfortunately, I cannot embed the video. But I can send you along to the link, so off you go.