The Cassini spacecraft has made a close pass of Saturn's moon Iapetus, a striking world of two halves. One side of Iapetus' surface is as bright as snow, while the other is coated in a material as dark as tar.
The Cassini spacecraft's flyby of Saturn's moon Iapetus has revealed a bizarre geological feature in its images: a bulging ridge at its equator. Mission scientists have started to release detailed images of the moon's surface, which is sharply divided into a bright half and a dark half. The ridge is around 13km (8 miles) high in some places - taller than Mount Everest, the tallest peak on Earth.
Saturn's vast and majestic ring system has its own atmosphere - separate from that of the planet itself, according to data from the Cassini spacecraft. And Saturn is rotating seven minutes more slowly than when probes measured its spin in the 70s and 80s - an observation experts cannot yet explain.
The international Cassini-Huygens probe has had its first opportunity to fly by Saturn's biggest moon, Titan. Already the spacecraft has managed to detect large linear features on Titan's surface which are obscured from Earth telescopes by its thick atmosphere. Imaging specialists said these could be tectonic structures - areas of crust which had been shaped by movement.
Scientists examining images from the Cassini craft think they may be closer to showing there is liquid hydrocarbon on Saturn's moon Titan. Radar images of a strip of the moon, covering 1% of the surface, revealed dark patches which could indicate liquid methane or ethane.
The Huygens probe is on target and all set for its encounter with Titan, the mysterious large moon of Saturn. The 2.7m-wide robot lab has passed its final systems check-out and scientists have confirmed the rendezvous can go ahead on 14 January as planned. Huygens has spent the past seven years riding on the Cassini spacecraft, which arrived at the ringed planet in July. The probe's ejection and plunge into Titan's thick...
Scientists have released the first results from the Huygens probe's journey to Saturn's moon Titan, along with amazing new images. They also played sounds recorded as Huygens dived towards the surface. Measurements suggest the area it landed on has the consistency of "creme brulee" and may have once been flooded.
Scientists will comb data sent back from Titan by the Huygens probe for the chemical signature of life in a bid to identify the moon's source of methane. Methane is constantly destroyed by UV light so there must be a source within Titan to replenish the atmosphere. Life is a possible - though some think unlikely - source of this hydrocarbon along with geological processes. The surface is too cold for biology, but microbes could...