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Curious facts about cosmic life and their inhabitants.

After a long and dangerous journey through the space between planets, the Cassini/Huygens Spacecraft reached Saturn on July 1, 2004. On December 25, 2004, the Huygens Probe was purposely liberated from the Cassini Orbiter. Huygens then began its historic descent through the dense blanket of golden-orange fog to at last lift the veil hiding Titan's long-hidden face.



and here is another

We earthlings love to look up at the moon. So much does the moon enamor us; we write movies, songs and poems by the droves that contain the name of the earth's super satellite. A case in point is the fact that one of the biggest selling record albums of all time is Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."



and finally

The very productive Cassini mission might attain some indirect information by analyzing the ring arc material--however, it is unlikely to come close to the little moon again before the mission ends in 2017.

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Other than the sun, no other celestial body significantly affects the earth as the moon does. It is well know that the moon affects the rise and fall of the ocean tide. Such is the effect of the gravitational pull between the earth and the moon. Jupiter is easily the largest planet in our solar system. To put its size in context, Jupiter is more than 300 times the mass of Earth. Here is the interesting part; Jupiter has 63 moons that orbit it and yet it is not the planet in the Solar System with the most moons. That honor belongs to the ringed-planet Saturn, which has 66 moons identified so far. Pluto, the farthest flung among the nine planets, has been the subject of heated debate on whether it really qualifies to be considered a planet. Nowadays, it is classified as a dwarf planet. Its orbit around the Sun is somewhat heavily elliptical. In fact, there are instances where Pluto is actually closer to the Sun than Neptune, the planet that precedes it.



Still, the moon is important and interesting to all of us who live in sight of its majestic beauty. We never tire wondering about it. In this article, we will talk about the moon, its cycles and the phenomenon known as the "blue moon." Then, we will even give you a heads up as to when you can expect the next several full moons.



Dr. Sotin and Dr. Vance are both members of the Icy Worlds team at JPL, which is part of the multi-institutional NASA Astrobiology Institute based at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.