Contrasting Crescents

NASA & ESA – Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn & Titan patch.

Feb. 5, 2018

In this view, Saturn’s icy moon Rhea passes in front of Titan as seen by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Some of the differences between the two large moons are readily apparent. While Rhea is a heavily-cratered, airless world, Titan’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere is even thicker than Earth’s.

This natural color image was taken in visible light with the Cassini narrow-angle camera on Nov. 19, 2009, at a distance of approximately 713,300 miles (1,148,000 kilometers) from Rhea.

The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit and The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ESA’s website:

Image, Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Best regards,

A Lunar Tribute to Former NASA Chief Exploration Scientist

NASA – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) patch.

Feb. 5, 2018

NASA’s former chief exploration scientist, Michael Wargo, has been posthumously honored with the distinction of having a lunar crater named after him. Wargo Crater is an 8.6-mile (13.8 km) diameter impact crater sitting on the northwest edge of Joule T crater, on the far side of the Moon. Wargo worked at NASA from 1991 until his death in 2013.

The International Astronomical Union is the naming authority for celestial bodies, and reserves the naming of Moon craters for deceased astronauts and cosmonauts, as well as deceased scientists and polar explorers who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field.

Wargo had many remarkable contributions to exploration science throughout his 20-year career at NASA. He was known as a science ambassador to the public, and for his ability to decipher complex science for students and nontechnical audiences. He was passionate about scientific discoveries that would enable human exploration in deep space, and worked with planetary researchers around the world to develop robotic discovery missions.

Learn more:

IAU citation for Wargo crater:
Explore Wargo crater with Quickmap:

LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter):

Image, Text, Credits: NASA/Yvette Smith.


Solar System 10 Things to Know This Week: Humans of NASA

Meet some of the amazing humans behind our exploring machines.

1—Small Town to Small Satellites

“I grew up in a small town where working at NASA was unheard of. I worked hard, persevered, and eventually made it to where I am despite many obstacles along the way. Through that process, never forget to enjoy what you are doing. It is my passion for space exploration that has helped me keep motivated and that brings me happiness every day that I come to work.”

2—Scientist. Mountain Unicyclist

“I do a rather unusual sport for fun—mountain unicycling. I love it because it’s incredibly challenging, requiring strength, stamina and focus. I also enjoy surfing, caving, flying and teaching a space camp in South Korea each summer.”

Morgan Cable, Research Scientist

3—"Eat. Breathe. Do Science. Sleep later.“

“I do SCIENCE! No, seriously, I travel and explore for fun. It’s a fascinating world and I can’t get enough of it. But I’m always doing "science” of some kind no matter where I am. I love it —— can’t escape it and wouldn’t want to. Eat. Breathe. Do Science. Sleep later.”

Derek Pitts, Solar System Ambassador

4—In the Room Where It Happened

“It was the summer of 2013, when I was the media rep for the Voyager mission. I was with Ed Stone, the mission’s project scientist, when he came to the conclusion that Voyager 1 had crossed the threshold into interstellar space. For the first time, a human—made object flew beyond the plasma bubble our sun blows around itself. Voyager 1 is now bathed in the remnants of the explosions of other stars. I really appreciated seeing the scientific process—and Ed’s mind—at work.”

Jia-Rui Cook, Supervisor of News Events and Projects at JPL

5—All About the Math. And Determination.

“From an academic point of view, it’s all about doing well in math and science. However, there is absolutely no substitute for being determined. Being determined to be successful is at least half the game.”

James Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division

6—Problem Solver

Opportunity [rover] was designed to live for 90 days in the harsh Martian environment but she is still exploring now 11 years later! Because of her age, software and hardware components are degrading on the vehicle and more recently, the flash memory. I had the incredible opportunity to lead the team to figure out how to solve these flash problems and get Opportunity back into an operational state.”

Bekah Sosland Siegfriedt, Engineer

7—Never Give Up

“When you encounter difficulties or failures, do not take no for an answer. If you truly want to accomplish something and are passionate about it, you need to believe in yourself, put your mind to it, and you can accomplish anything! I failed A LOT, but I NEVER GAVE UP. It took three years and over 150 applications to NASA before I received my first internship”

Kevin DeBruin, Systems Engineer

8—More Than Mohawk Guy

“The great thing about being at NASA is that there are jobs for all types —— whether it’s engineering, science, finance, communication, law, and so forth. All of them are necessary and all of them involve working on some of the coolest things humans can do. So pick the area you love, but also know that you can still be a part of exploring the universe.”

Bobak Ferdowsi, Systems Engineer

9—The Power of One

“When my older sister claimed she would one day be an astronaut, on the heels of Sally Ride’s launch into space, I made the same claim. Though, it was more because I dreamed to be just like my sister! In turned out that she outgrew the crazy dream, and my desire only got stronger.”

Mamta Patel Nagaraja, Science Communications

10—Dedication and Choices

“Body-building is a favorite pasttime: it’s a great stress reliever and a hobby that I can take with me when I travel for work or for pleasure. It’s also a great expression of responsibility and ownership: What I’ve accomplished is due entirely to my dedication and choices, and it belongs to no one but me.”

Troy Hudson, Instrument System Engineer

Check out the full version of Ten Things to Know HERE

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