Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cassini-Huygens now moving though Saturn's rings

'Cosmic Speck: See Earth Through Saturn's Rings in Amazing Cassini Photo'

Sarah Lewin - - April 21, 2017

 The Cassini spacecraft spotted Earth as a bright speck (and the moon as a smaller speck) between Saturn's broad rings as the craft prepares for its final dive into the ringed planet's atmosphere.

Cassini was 870 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) from Earth the night of April 12-13 when it snapped this photo, which shows Earth — and the even tinier moon, a faint dot to its left — framed between the icy rings of Saturn. At the time the photo was taken, the southern Atlantic Ocean was facing the spacecraft's lens, NASA officials said in a statement.



Saturn moon Enceladus

The Cassini-Huygens Mission has been a joint program between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) since 1997. Much of the craft was designed and developed by the ASI and other corporations in our Cisalpine ancestral homeland. As fascinating as Titan and other Saturn moons have proved to be, the possibility of life on the moon Enceladus has stolen the show since last year.

This is a real photograph, not a drawing or computer generated image..

NASA twitter 4-26-17:
To go where no spacecraft has gone before…tomorrow, @CassiniSaturn makes its 1st dive between Saturn and its rings:


'The Cassini spacecraft’s dive in between Saturn’s rings, explained'

The spacecraft begins its “grand finale” before crashing into the gas giant later this year

Brian Resnick - - April 26, 2017

The Cassini spacecraft is going where no ship has gone before: On Wednesday, it begins a series of dives into the space between Saturn and its magnificent rings. The maneuver — a series of 22 orbits that will bring Cassini increasingly closer to Saturn’s surface before crashing into it — is called the spacecraft’s “grand finale.” And to mark this final journey, Cassini is being honored with a Google Doodle.

Over its last 13 years in orbit, Cassini has had an amazing run studying Saturn and its moons. Here’s what the spacecraft has taught us so far — and why its final mission may be its most spectacular yet.



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