Even though Cassini has finished its mission, NASA is still releasing new photos. So, this one shows Saturn’s beautiful rings and amazing three moons.
NASA’s legendary Cassini spacecraft finished its mission on 15 September 2017, plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere. However, NASA is still releasing spectacular photos taken from the craft.
Cassini spacecraft took this edge-on view of Saturn’s rings on 13 Marsh, 2006, capturing the moon Mimas above the ring plane, illuminated both by the sun and Saturn the tiny moon Janus just above the rings and larger Tethys below.
Cassini snapped the photo from a distance of about 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles). The craft combined red, green and blue spectral filters to produce a natural color view.
NASA launched the spacecraft in 1997 and first arrived at Saturn in 2004. They extended its mission twice, surveying and photographing the planet’s surface, rings, magnetosphere, and moon.
One of Cassini’s greatest discoveries was the discovery of water on moon Enceladus, uncovering water, vapor, and geysers, and plumes that form only in water, meaning the possibility of nutrients, and maybe even life. While it will be a while before we head off to explore Saturn again, scientists continue to study what Cassini brought back to Earth long after the spaceship’s demise.
Thumbnail image credit: NASA