Saturnalia was celebrated by the ancient Romans from December 17 through December 23. The festival was organized around the time of the winter solstice. The celebrations began with a festival honoring Saturn. Thereafter people wore their best clothing and sometimes peaked hats. Banquets and parties abounded. Gifts were exchanged on the third day of the festival.
Voyager 2 was launched in 1977. It traveled near Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. It transmitted photographs and data back to earth. It continues in its space travels, sending back weak radio signals. Children can visit an interesting website, including data on the spacecraft’s distance from earth, at: Voyager 2.
Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn in 1981 and Neptune in 1989. Launched August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 investigated Saturn’s atmosphere. It also researched Neptune’s atmosphere and checked out one of Neptune’s moons, Triton. The spacecraft continues to travel and send back data. Children can keep up to date with that data at: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/
Voyager I was launched in 1977. It approached Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980. It continues to explore deep space and send back data. Traveling at a maximum speed of 38,000 miles per hour, Voyager I has traveled far beyond Pluto’s orbit. Children can learn more at: Voyager.
Cassini Space Probe ended in 2017 when it was de-orbited above Saturn and was destroyed in Saturn’s atmosphere. The Cassini Huygens unmanned mission was launched on October 15, 1997. The Cassini-Huygens mission was a joint venture of the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, and NASA. Cassini was supposed to be viable only until 2008. However, it continued to send back valuable data about various planets and Saturn’s moons and rings. Scientists had it perform a “Grand Finale” where it threaded its way between Saturn and the planet’s inner rings. That final set of maneuvers provided maximum information regarding Saturn. Children could read some amazing Cassini facts at: Cassini Quick Facts.
Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched in 1997. The unmanned NASA craft reached Saturn, its goal, in 2004. Huygens broke away from Cassini and landed on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, on January 14, 2005.
Shenzhou 5 was launched from China in 2003. China’s first successful manned space venture sent Yang Liwei into earth orbit. He orbited earth 14 times and spent over 21 hours in space.
Four new moons of Saturn were reported by astronomers in 2000. That made a total of 22 moons at the time. Since then the number has risen to 82. Children can participate in some great activities regarding Saturn at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/kids/.
Voyager I made its closest contact with Saturn in 1980. The spacecraft then began taking photos, especially of the rings, and scientific measurements. Launched on September 5, 1977, Voyager I traveled past Saturn and the rest of our solar system. It continues to travel through space and send back data. Children can learn more at: Voyager I.