Cassini Probe Sends Photos of Saturn's Moons Before Final Mission

Cassini Probe Sends Photos of Saturn's Moons Before Final Mission

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is to start sending back its last photos of Dione, a moon of Saturn, before the probe begins its last, dangerous mission.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is preparing to reach its dramatic conclusion, but first it has some photos it would like to share - and who doesn't love space photos?

The probe, launched in 1997, passed by Jupiter before settling into orbit around Saturn in 2004. In 2005, the Huygens lander detached and landed on Titan. Since its arrival at the gas giant and second-biggest planet in our solar system, Cassini has been photographing its strange moons and the planet itself.

Below is a gallery of some of Cassini's most interesting recent photos, including its recent flybys of the moons Dione and Hyperion (all images are courtesy of NASA):

Visible in the gallery, in order: an infrared shot of Saturn; Dione (left) and Mimas (right) passing before the gas giant; Dione crossing the famous rings; a close-up of Dione; a further close-up, displaying its mysterious chasms; a false-color photo of the moon, Hyperion.

For more of Cassini's pics, check out our earlier article here.

It has one more flyby of Dione planned on August 17th, and then it will shift its orbit as part of a year-long preparation for its last mission: to dive between Saturn and its rings, collecting data, before finally penetrating the planet's atmosphere where it will presumably be destroyed.

We'll probably have more photos from the probe by next week; and after that, we'll just have to wait patiently to hear about the annoyed Saturnian aliens complaining that we're dumping all our junk on their planet.

Source:NASA

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PatrickJS:
to dive between Saturn and its rings, collecting data, before finally penetrating the planet's atmosphere where it will presumably be destroyed.

Or possibly disturb something that's been sleeping for billions of years, that is now to awaken and destroy us all... Great job NASA you doomed us all....

Kameburger:

PatrickJS:
to dive between Saturn and its rings, collecting data, before finally penetrating the planet's atmosphere where it will presumably be destroyed.

Or possibly disturb something that's been sleeping for billions of years, that is now to awaken and destroy us all... Great job NASA you doomed us all....

I've heard alot of stories and sci-fi thingies, but I'm not getting the reference. What are you referring to?

OT: These are very good. I mean, the moons are just moons, but they're well-captueed moons.

Which moon is the last picture of? That's an absolutely stunning picture, that rock has incredibly striking features. It almost looks like a geode, a rock turned inside out.

Wish it was in colour, but I guess it doesn't really matter. The detail on the moons is incredible, that last shot with that ridiculously large impact site is.. kinda terrifying in its scale.

FalloutJack:

Kameburger:

PatrickJS:
to dive between Saturn and its rings, collecting data, before finally penetrating the planet's atmosphere where it will presumably be destroyed.

Or possibly disturb something that's been sleeping for billions of years, that is now to awaken and destroy us all... Great job NASA you doomed us all....

I've heard alot of stories and sci-fi thingies, but I'm not getting the reference. What are you referring to?

OT: These are very good. I mean, the moons are just moons, but they're well-captueed moons.

I doubt it's the one Kameburger is talking about but I have read a book series called The Saga of Seven Suns, which has creatures that dwell at the centre of gas giants (and stars, IIRC), which humanity stumbles onto... shenanigans ensue. It's not to bad, a little odd at times (possibly preachy), but overall quite good for a five or so sided conflict (which all get PoV chapters).

 

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