NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will end its mission in September when it will plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere and end its surveillance of the ringed planet. Josh King has the story.
NASA: F for Fabulous
When seen up close, the F ring of Saturn resolves into multiple dusty strands. This Cassini view shows three bright strands and a very faint fourth strand off to the right.
The central strand is the core of the F ring. The other strands are not independent at all, but are actually sections of long spirals of material that wrap around Saturn. The material in the spirals was likely knocked out from the F ring’s core during interactions with a small moon. To read more about the spiral, see The F Ring’s Spiral Arm .
JPL: Cassini Inspires
During nearly two decades in space, Cassini has inspired the people of Earth. It has sent home thousands of images of icy moons and resplendent rings. It helped discover erupting water geysers on Enceladus and seas of methane on Titan. It showed us a view of the Earth as a blue dot.
Now the mission is moving toward its “Grand Finale” phase, and in September it will finally draw to its dramatic end. We’d like to know one thing: how has Cassini inspired you?
Space Coast Daily: VIDEO: NASA Cassini Huygens Spacecraft Saturn Mission Invites Public To Share Artistic Creations
Although the motivation behind NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn was scientific, part of the planet’s allure has long been in its undeniable physical beauty.
Space.com: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sends its love this Valentine’s Day with photos of Saturn’s beautiful rings, moons and polar vortex.
The Cassini-Huygens mission — a joint collaboration led by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency — launched in 1997 and is in its final year in orbit around Saturn. Throughout its stay at the ringed planet, Cassini has captured extraordinary photos that are published in an image gallery online. Anyone can download the photos to create artistic masterpieces of their own.