The past decade has produced a very extended and high quality new data set about the Jovian system, including observations of the planet's atmosphere, the surfaces and interior structure of the four large satellites, the magnetic, plasma and dust environments, and the rings. As a result of this data set, our understanding of the Jovian system and of the Jovian type planets in general has been significantly improved as compared to the view provided by the Voyager missions in the 1980's.
The Galileo mission, consisting of an orbiter and an atmospheric entry probe, has been making important discoveries at Jupiter during its continuing exploration of the Jovian system begun in December of 1995 and expected to end in 2002. The Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn, through performing a gravity assisted flyby at Jupiter, returned a unique data set, as this spacecraft, the Galileo orbiter and Earth-based science teams (operating ground-based and Earth-orbit instrumentation) performed simultaneous observations. The full exploitation of the entire Jupiter data set will go on for decades.
Starting in late 2004, the Cassini/Huygens mission will perform a 4 year long monitoring of the Saturnian system. The amount of information to be returned is expected to exceed the Jupiter data set by several orders of magnitude.
The main objective of the proposed meeting is to update all the results and cutting edge research activities concerning both the Jovian and the Saturnian system, throughout all relevant planetary science disciplines.
Furthermore, the new vision of the Jovian system (its present state as defined by observations, currently ongoing processes and the interaction between the different elements of the system), and the lessons learned from the Galileo mission, will be used as a fresh basis to critically review the planned observations by Cassini/Huygens in the Saturnian system.