After a seven-year journey, the Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, to start a four-year tour of the planet, its icy moons, and its vast ring system. A probe from Cassini called Huygens is now exploring the haze-shrouded giant moon called Titan.
One of the world's experts on ring systems around planets, Dr. Cuzzi will describe the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft and the plans for this fascinating mission. He will highlight the most exciting results from the first few months of Saturn system exploration, with an emphasis on what we are learning about the complex structure and composition of Saturn's ring system and how such a dramatic set of rings may have originated. Cuzzi is a research scientist in the Space Science Division at NASA's Ames Research Center and serves as the Interdisciplinary Scientist for Rings & Dust on the Cassini-Huygens. He was a "ringleader" in planning all the ring images taken at Saturn, Uranus and Neptune by the Voyager spacecraft in the 1980s.
The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Foothill College Astronomy Program, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and Astronomical Society of the Pacific.