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mwamsley
2004-Oct-27, 03:12 PM
I'm sorry, I think this is just bad....

Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader

Nearly half a century of exploring the bodies in orbit around our Sun has brought us to this point ... staring down Saturn's largest moon, the last, great mystery our solar system has to offer.

Well, once we figure out Titan, we're finished! All great mysteries solved! I'm very glad that we put in that extra time last year to solve the great mysteries of Pluto, the Ort Cloud, Kuiper Belt objects.......and Earth!

I agree Titan is a great mystery, but we still have a lot more to explore and understand.

http://ciclops.lpl.arizona.edu/

jt-3d
2004-Oct-27, 04:40 PM
Yeah, what an odd thing to say. Maybe she meant it was the last thing on her desk for the day?

Oh, there's some funny reply, I just can't think of one.

ngc3314
2004-Oct-27, 09:29 PM
Yeah, what an odd thing to say. Maybe she meant it was the last thing on her desk for the day?



From what I heard on the NASA TV webcast, she said something rather less grandiose and probably correct - the surface of Titan was the largest piece of solid real estate in the Solar System of whose nature we were so ignorant, and much of that veil was being lifted before our eyes. And at that, it wasn't too long ago that we would not have expected to have any sort of global imaging of its surface (not that we know what all those spots are now...)

Wolverine
2004-Oct-27, 10:49 PM
From the context of conversation via the web cast, I received they impression that they were discussing planetary science rather than the sum total of the solar system. I didn't feel her comments were off-base.

mwamsley
2004-Oct-28, 03:55 PM
From the context of conversation via the web cast, I received they impression that they were discussing planetary science rather than the sum total of the solar system. I didn't feel her comments were off-base.

I guess you're right. I didn't see the webcast, and what ngc3314 makes sense. But let's not pretend that this is it. It almost seems to lessen the importance of the Mercury Messenger mission (even though we have an good idea of what's on the other side!), future Icy Moons of Jupiter missions (what's under the ice?) and future Pluto missions.

Yes, Titan is possibly the largest landmass unknown, but I'm assuming that in the future we will be glued to NASA TV to see the latest data from a smaller, just as mysterious landmass unknown. With shocking findings!

Carolyn Porco:

This is history in the making. We will never be this innocent, or this ignorant, again. In a matter of hours, the solar system will become a very much smaller place.

Maybe there are two camps: ones who feel we are nearing the end of solving the lingering mysteries of the planetary bodies and ones who feel that we have barely scratched the surface. I have been a camper with a small tent in camp two for some time! And I still look forward to the furture of sloving mysteries.

Wolverine
2004-Oct-29, 01:11 AM
I guess you're right. I didn't see the webcast, and what ngc3314 makes sense. But let's not pretend that this is it.

I'd wager you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone doing so. ;)

Dr. Porco was explaining the significance of what the various teams were able to accomplish from just the first close fly-by of Titan, and it was indeed both exciting and historic. That being said, IMHO, I think you may be simply reading too much into her comments.

Certainly nobody's suggesting that there aren't remaining mysteries to solve within the solar system or fundamental questions yet to be answered. A quick review of upcoming missions both at NASA (http://spacescience.nasa.gov/missions/index.htm) and JPL (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/future_missions.cfm) should help indicate there's really only one camp -- one that agrees we've a great deal to learn.

johnwitts
2004-Oct-31, 01:09 PM
I took it to mean that it's the last planetary surface to be imaged close up. Discounting Pluto, I think she's right. Voyager(s) couldn't see through the haze, so we had less of an idea about Titan than we had of Mars after the first murky Mariner images. Taken in context, I think that's what she meant.

Russ
2004-Nov-01, 09:54 PM
I've got twenty bucks says the number of questions created by Cassini/Huygens is the cube of the number of questions answered.

Any takers?

aurora
2004-Nov-01, 10:40 PM
I've got twenty bucks says the number of questions created by Cassini/Huygens is the cube of the number of questions answered.

Any takers?

No, I think you've sussed it correctly.

8)

Kaptain K
2004-Nov-02, 08:13 AM
I've got twenty bucks says the number of questions created by Cassini/Huygens is the cube of the number of questions answered.

Any takers?
I think you're way low! :o