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What do we know today about Titan?

AuthorsLara, Luisa María CSIC ORCID CVN; Rodrigo Montero, Rafael CSIC ORCID; López-Moreno, José Juan CSIC ORCID
Issue Date2006
CitationLecture Notes and Essays in Astrophysics II, pp. 1-26, (2006)
AbstractEver since the the discovery of the atmosphere surrounding Titan, the real nature of this Saturnian satellite has remained hidden for almost one century. Since two Voyager spacecraft passed the Solar System's sixth planet in 1980 and 1981, Saturn, its rings and the plethora of satellites living in a complex pulsating magnetosphere have greatly called our attention. The joint NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini-Huygens mission now at the Saturnian System represents the summit of such a curiosity. Launched from Cape Cañaveral on 15 October 1997, since July 1, 2004 it has become a new satellite of Saturn which nowadays explores the planet, the rings and the satellites, and it will continue doing so for at least 4 years. Undoubtedly, from this in situ study of the ringed planet, the most awaited exploration was the descent of the Huygens probe through the atmosphere of the largest saturnian moon, Titan, and its subsequent landing on the satellite's surface. Beside the technological success, the Huygens probe has provided us with the view of an astonishing world which appears to have an extraordinarily Earth-like meteorology, geology and fluvial activity (in which methane would play the role of water on Earth).
DescriptionProceedings of the II Astrophysics Symposium held during the XXX Biannual Meeting of the Royal Spanish Physical Society. Ourense, Spain 2005
Appears in Collections:(IAA) Comunicaciones congresos

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