From a billion miles away, the Cassini spacecraft continues to send spectacular images of Saturn and its moons.
Cassini has been flying since 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004 after flybys of Earth, Venus and Jupiter. Its mission was originally slated to end in 2008, but it got its first 27 month extension to witness Saturn’s equinox. This year, it was given another life extension until 2017 to keep exploring until Saturn’s northern hemisphere summer solstice.
One of Cassini’s main objectives going forward will be repeat flybys of Titan and Enceladus. Titan’s atmosphere makes it one of the most Earth-like bodies in our solar system, and scientists are hoping to learn more about Encaledus’ tectonic activity.
We’ve gathered twelve of Cassini’s most impressive, mind-blowing shots from the last few months.
On the night side of Saturn, the planet casts a dark shadow over its rings. The moon Tethys can be seen in the upper right of the image, and the moon Enceladus is visible in the lower right. This image was taken May 30, 2010.
Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
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