For twenty-five years following the Voyager mission, scientists speculated about Saturn's largest moon, a mysterious orb clouded in orange haze. Finally, in 2005, the Cassini-Huygens probe successfully parachuted down through Titan's atmosphere, all the while transmitting images and data. In the early 1980s, when the two Voyager spacecraft skimmed past Titan, Saturn's largest moon, they transmitted back enticing images of a mysterious world concealed in a seemingly impenetrable orange haze. Titan Unveiled is one of the first general interest books to reveal the startling new discoveries that have been made since the arrival of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan.
Ralph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton take readers behind the scenes of this mission. Launched in 1997, Cassini entered orbit around Saturn in summer 2004. Its formidable payload included the Huygens probe, which successfully parachuted down through Titan's atmosphere in early 2005, all the while transmitting images and data--and scientists were startled by what they saw. One of those researchers was Lorenz, who gives an insider's account of the scientific community's first close encounter with an alien landscape of liquid methane seas and turbulent orange skies. Amid the challenges and frayed nerves, new discoveries are made, including methane monsoons, equatorial sand seas, and Titan's polar hood. Lorenz and Mitton describe Titan as a world strikingly like Earth and tell how Titan may hold clues to the origins of life on our own planet and possibly to its presence on others.
Generously illustrated with many stunning images, Titan Unveiled is essential reading for anyone interested in space exploration, planetary science, or astronomy.
A new afterword brings readers up to date on Cassini's ongoing exploration of Titan, describing the many new discoveries made since 2006.