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Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Exploredby Ralph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton
Synopses & Reviews
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 great book for anyone wanting to know what it's like to be on the front lines of a mission to perhaps the most fascinating planetary body in the solar system. Lorenz and Mitton bring home the fact that planetary exploration is not a faceless enterprise done by anonymous men in white coats, but a personal adventure carried along by real people with real charisma, real quirks, and real lives."--Mike Brown, California Institute of Technology
"This book could hardly be more timely. Titan is inarguably one of the most intriguing objects in the solar system, and the wealth of new information revealed by the successful Cassini-Huygens mission is revolutionizing our knowledge of this mysterious moon. Lorenz and Mitton are well qualified for the project, and have written a very compelling book."--Edwin L. Turner, Princeton University
"This is the first trade book that looks at the mission results in a comprehensive way. It gives a summary of our knowledge of Titan prior to the probe, describes the history of the probe project, and discusses the results from the mission. I am not aware of any books like this one."--Christopher P. McKay, NASA Ames Research Center
"Titan Unveiled is an authentic and lively insider's account of one of the grand enterprises in modern space exploration. The authors present a compelling human story of interplanetary exploration, rich in detail and strong on science. Readers get an authoritative description of many of the latest results from Cassini."--Richard G. French, Wellesley College and Cassini Radio Science Team
About the Author
Ralph Lorenz is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Jacqueline Mitton is a writer, editor, and media consultant in astronomy. They are the coauthors of "Lifting Titan's Veil: Exploring the Giant Moon of Saturn".
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Tables vii
Chapter 1: The Lure of Titan 1
Chapter 2: Waiting for Cassini 21
Chapter 3: Cassini Arrives 67
Chapter 4: Cassini's First Taste of Titan 101
Chapter 5: Landing on Titan 132
Chapter 6: The Mission Goes On 174
Chapter 7: Where We Are and Where We Are Going 211
Appendix: Summary of Dynamical and Physical Data 233
Further Reading 235
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