Cassini snaps a familiar object between Saturn's rings
- Author: Israel Montgomery Apr 25, 2017,
Apr 25, 2017, 12:56
Aside from planet Earth, the spacecraft also photographed the moon.
This unprocessed image of Saturn's moon Titan was captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its final close flyby of the hazy, planet-sized moon on April 21, 2017. During the last dive on September 15, Cassini is slated to destroy itself by flying directly into Saturn's crushing atmosphere.
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In its final months on the job, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is still taking some fascinating images.
NASA said the Cassini mission to Saturn is "one of the most ambitious efforts in planetary space exploration ever mounted". The spacecraft, which has been studying the Saturn system since 2004, will start its Grand Finale mission Wednesday and end it by plunging into the planet's atmosphere September 15. On Wednesday (April 26), Cassini will begin the Grand Finale phase of its mission, performing the first of 22 dives between Saturn's cloud tops and the gas giant's innermost ring. The so-called "Grand Finale" will begin on April 26 and end on Sep. 15. Program manager Earl Maize told the website that he has "no doubt" that Titan's gravity will help Cassini shift into the correct final orbit, but that his team is unsure what lies in the gap between Saturn and its rings. The mission is supposed to be all about Saturn but while Cassini-Huygens is traveling around Saturn, the scientist found something rare on the Saturn's moons, the Titan and Enceladus.
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Cassini received a large increase in velocity of approximately 1,925 mph (precisely 860.5 meters per second) with respect to Saturn from the close encounter with Titan. The spacecraft will make the next radio contact with Earth on April 27 during which it will send another batch of images and other data. Images and other data are expected to begin flowing in shortly after communication is established.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
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