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KIDS SPACE - Fun Facts - Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous Fun Facts
Ever wonder how far Saturn is from Earth? Or what kinds of interesting things Huygens and I will be doing on our mission? Read on and discover!

Illustration of Cassini holding Earth and Huygens with Saturn on it's head. It shows that Saturn is > 1,300,000,000 km from Earth
Illustration of Cassini holding Earth and Huygens with Saturn on it's head. It shows that Saturn is > 1,300,000,000 km from Earth Round Orange Bullet You already know that Saturn is a long way from Earth. But did you know that the average distance is more than 1.3 billion kilometers? That's more than 800 million miles!

Round Orange Bullet Saturn is about twice as far from the Sun as its closest planetary neighbor Jupiter.

Round Orange Bullet Saturn is so far away that, once we're there, it will take almost an hour and a half for radio signals from Earth to reach us. (The exact time is between 68 and 84 minutes, depending on the position of Earth and Saturn.) That's a long time, especially if you consider that radio signals travel at the speed of light!

Illustration a spacecraft fly by a planet at the proper distance and take advantage of its gravitational pull
Round Orange Bullet Huygens and I have to take an even longer route to get there. By the time we reach Saturn, we traveled roughly 3.2 billion kilometers (about 2 billion miles). That's because to reach Saturn we needed to take advantage of four gravity assists. A gravity assist is a clever way to gain speed: you fly by a planet at the proper distance and take advantage of its gravitational pull. So we first traveled twice by Venus and then once by Earth and finally once by Jupiter. At the end of these four flybys, we got the needed speed to reach Saturn and saved a lot of fuel.

Round Orange Bullet During our long journey to Saturn, our engines will only burned for about 1 percent of the time. The other 99 percent of the trip was a long un-powered glide through space.

Round Orange Bullet When we arrived at Saturn, Huygens and I were traveling so fast that engineers will needed us to burn our engines for more than an hour and half (97 minutes to be exact) just to slow us down. If we didn't, we would have kept on going instead of entering the orbit around Saturn.

Illustation of images of Saturn, the rings, Titan and the other moons
Round Orange Bullet Part of our mission is to take lots and lots of images. We will send more than 300,000 images of Saturn, the rings, Titan and the other moons. Some 1,100 images of Titan were taken by Huygens during the swirling descent to the moon.

Check out the latest images from Saturn!

Round Orange Bullet Throughout the mission, we will send more than 300 gigabytes of scientific data back to Earth, which is more than 400 CD-ROMs of information. This data will be examined by more than 250 scientists around the world.

Round Orange Bullet One of the cameras we are carrying is so sensitive that it can see a small coin from nearly 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) away.

Illustration of Huygens parachuting down to Titan
Round Orange Bullet Huygens landed on Titan's surface with the same force as a skydiver lands on Earth with an open parachute. That's approximately 24 kilometers (about 15 miles) per hour.

Round Orange Bullet During our stay at Saturn we will fly close to the gas giant 76 times and visit Titan 45 times. But of course Huygens had the closest view of Titan, and Titan is now the most distant object from Earth ever to be studied by a probe!

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