PS3.210 years of Cassini
|Convener: Nicolas Altobelli | Co-Conveners: Athena Coustenis , Jean-Pierre Lebreton , Jonathan I. Lunine , Linda Spilker|
Ten years ago, the Cassini-Huygens mission entered the Saturnian System. The Cassini spacecraft
became the first orbiter of Saturn in July 2004 and the Huygens probe landed softly on the surface
of Titan on January 2005. These historical events were made possible thanks to a strong international collaboration lead by NASA, ESA and ASI, and marked the beginning of an area of astonishing discoveries that have revolutionized our understanding of Saturn, its Ring System and its Moons.
Fundamental physical processes, only theorized before Cassini, could be observed in-situ for the first time.
Additional, a-priori completely unexpected phenomena were also discovered. A keypoint in the exploration of
the Saturnian System turned out to be its variability with seasons, that could be observed thanks to the long term
baseline of the mission.
Those observations and discoveries are at the core of planetary and satellite formation and interaction, making the Cassini-Huygens achievements a fundamental reference for the decades to come in the field of Solar System and Exo-Planet exploration.
This session aims at highlighting the major discoveries of Cassini-Huygens and their significance in the broad perspective
of Giant Planet formation and evolution.'