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   News Photos Voice People BizChina Feature About us   
Cassini pictures puzzle scientists
www.chinaview.cn 2004-07-06 14:02:17

    BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhuanet) --  

(Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/sina.com)

As the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft zooms away from Saturn, scientists are mystified by some of the images Cassini has sent back from Titan's surface.

    They had expected to see oceans or lakes reflecting like mirrors from Titan's surface. Instead, Cassini sent back murky pictures obscured by moon clouds, CRIENGLISH.com reported Tuesday.

    The ship snapped pictures and took instrument readings as it passed within 211,000 miles of Titan, about as close as Earth is to its own moon.

    However, scientists have found that a methane cloud near Titan's south pole is made of unusually large particles, suggesting something is brewing below.

    And they were able to look for the first time at the surface, using an infrared mapping spectrometer that cut through the haze, to map minerals and chemicals.

    Titan is a focus of the $3.27 billion mission, which will spend at least four years exploring Saturn's rings, moons, atmosphere and magnetic field.

    (CRIENGLISH.com)

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