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CCAPS Research

Research in CCAPS includes astrophysics theory, complex numerical simulations of extreme environments, astronomical observations, from within the Solar System to the largest cosmic scales, and the engineering design, construction and implementation of instruments for ground and space based observatories and Mars Rovers. Our observational work covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma-rays. A wide variety of national and international observatories and satellites are utilized to conduct our research.

Mission Spotlight: Cassini

Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA/ESA/ASI spacecraft mission studying the planet Saturn and its many natural satellites since 2004. Launched in 1997 after nearly two decades of gestation, it includes a Saturn orbiter and an atmospheric probe/lander for the moon Titan, although it has also returned data on a wide variety of other things including the Heliosphere, Jupiter, and relativity tests. The Titan probe, Huygens, entered and landed on the moon in 2005. After two decades in space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has ended its remarkable journey of exploration. Having expended almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators deliberately plunged Cassini into the planet on September 15, 2017, to ensure Saturn's moons remain pristine for future exploration.

Click here to learn more about Cornell astronomers' contributions to the Cassini-Huygens mission.

Click here to learn about other missions in which CCAPS researchers are involved.

The Carl Sagan Institute

The Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dot and Beyond was founded in 2015 at Cornell University to further the search for habitable planets and moons in and outside our Solar System. Directed by astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger, the Institute has built an entirely new interdisciplinary research group, focused on the characterization of planets and moons – inside and outside the Solar System – and the instruments to search for signs of life in the universe.

Click here to explore the CSI website.