Who is up for a final spin on Cassini before it crashes into Saturn?

Friday, 7 April, 2017

In September the Cassini space probe, which has spent thirteen years studying Saturn, with its fuel supplies nearly exhausted, will set itself on a collision course with the ringed planet.

Before diving into Saturn’s atmosphere, and disintegrating in the process, Cassini is scheduled to make twenty-two plunges into the region between the planet and its rings, an area that has been little explored to date.

I wouldn’t mind being on board for one or two of those passes, though obviously not the final one. Much as I like Saturn, I have no desire to become part of it.

And in honour of its work, a selection of Cassini’s best Saturn photos, compiled by Gizmodo.

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In a parallel universe, somewhere, there’s a Saturn without rings

Tuesday, 29 October, 2013

Saturn without rings, via Jason Kottke

When you think about it, Saturn, the sixth planet out from the Sun, is one of the solar system’s big drawcards when it comes to galactic tourism. So what if the ringed planet, were devoid of its ring system, as envisaged here by Jason Kottke?

Would extraterrestrials still visit? Or might the Terran system be forced to find another way, aside from taxing its citizens, to raise revenue for its coffers? Thankfully, therefore, that Saturn has rings then.

The above image of Saturn is, by the way, based on this mosaic photo/image, taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

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A rose by any other name, the eye of Saturn’s Hurricane

Wednesday, 8 May, 2013

Hurricane eye, Saturn

It may be a false colour, near-infrared image, but nonetheless this hurricane – the eye of which is some two thousand kilometres across – that is currently raging in Saturn’s atmosphere, would be truly fearsome no matter which way you were looking at it.

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A voyage to the surface of Titan

Thursday, 31 January, 2013

Time-lapse video of the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe descending to the surface of the cloud-shrouded Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, in 2005, a place where scientists think microbial life may be present.

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What a way to fly, weaving through the rings of Saturn

Thursday, 17 March, 2011

A video of the approach to Saturn, the solar system’s second largest planet, made up of individual high-resolution photos taken by the Cassini spacecraft, which have been stitched together to create a motion representation of the journey.

A companion piece to the ambient sounds of Jupiter perhaps?

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Great balls of snow, Saturn’s moons snowball into a snowman

Monday, 4 October, 2010

Two of Saturn’s moons, Dione and Rhea, plus the Cassini space probe, which has been surveying the ringed planet since mid 2004, all happened to be in the right place at the time recently to bring about a photo of what looks like a giant snowman floating in space.

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Journey to Saturn

Thursday, 13 March, 2008

Journey to Saturn

Some amazing composite/montage images of Saturn, its rings, and moons, as taken by the Cassini space probe.

Cassini passed within about 50 kilometres of Saturn’s moon Enceladus yesterday in an attempt to analyse material that erupts from the satellite’s surface.

Despite being an ice ball, Enceladus is believed to harbour liquid water, which leads to the possibility of life (of some sort) also being present.

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