The Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) is located at SSI’s Headquarters Office. CICLOPS is the center for uplink and downlink operations for the imaging science experiment on the Cassini mission to Saturn. All images produced by the two powerful telescopic cameras onboard Cassini (the Imaging Science Subsystem) make their way across more than a billion and a half kilometers (1 billion miles) of space to be archived in databases at CICLOPS and made available to imaging team members across the globe.
The Cassini-Huygens mission continues to change our view of the Saturn system. Since arriving at Saturn in the summer of 2004, the intrepid spacecraft has completed numerous close flybys of Saturn’s moons, providing new perspectives and a wealth of data about this unique collection of objects. Cassini has monitored powerful lightning-generated radio outbursts and cloud activity produced by giant storms on Saturn that dwarf those on Earth. The Huygens probe landing on haze-shrouded Titan and Cassini’s continuing survey of this moon from space have provided tantalizing glimpses of a world that is at once remarkably earthlike yet also frigid and alien. The startling revelation that Saturn's small, icy moon Enceladus possesses a global, liquid-water ocean, a confirmation resulting from careful analysis of Cassini images of Enceladus, has widened the range of environments that might be hospitable for life.
Images taken by Cassini are selected for release to the public at CICLOPS. Chosen images and movie sequences are processed to ensure quality, including the best possible color. The final products are posted to the CICLOPS website (http://ciclops.org) for distribution to the waiting world. Also posted on the CICLOPS site are imaging news stories, upcoming mission events, public discussions, Saturn-inspired artwork, the 'Captain's Log', written by imaging team leader and CICLOPS director Carolyn Porco, and more.
Cassini's landmark exploration of the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, stunning rings, and complex magnetic environment will continue through 2017 when the spacecraft's third and final mission will come to an end. CICLOPS team members and the Cassini mission scientists and engineers are now hard at work executing the seven-year Cassini Solstice Mission, the second extension beyond Cassini's prime mission (which ended in 2008).
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.