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February 2, 2009 – May 15, 2009
Air and Space Museum
601 Independence Ave., SW
Location: Flight and the Arts, Gallery 211, 2nd floor, East Wing
On view are 60 images of the amazing Saturn system. Saturn is the most distant planet we can see without a telescope. To observers on Earth, Saturn seems to hover serenely, a jewel in the night sky some 1.4 billion kilometers (890 million miles) away. Up close, however, the view is anything but tranquil. Since entering orbit around Saturn in 2004, the Cassini spacecraft has been providing images and other data that offer an unprecedented look at the planet -- revealing a dynamic world of wind and lightning, rippling rings, and a menagerie of moons. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, holds surprises of its own.
In 2005, Cassini released the Huygens probe, which touched down gently on Titan's surface and was the first probe ever to land on a moon other than our own. Unique among moons in our solar system, Titan has a dense atmosphere, weather systems, and a landscape eerily like Earth's. But Titan's surface is frigid: -180 degrees C (-290 degrees F). Cassini continues to record new vistas from the Saturn system, with the assistance of thousands of people at NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency.