Here's What Earth Looks Like From Saturn's Rings

Apr 25, 2017, 12:56
Here's What Earth Looks Like From Saturn's Rings

Looming over it is one of Saturn's famed rings.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft soared past Saturn's biggest moon for the last time on Saturday, tapping its gravity to slingshot into a series of exploratory dives inside the planet's rings, followed by a final fatal plunge into the gas giant.

The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan on April 21st at 11:08pm PDT (1:08am CDT on April 22nd), passing at an altitude of about 608 miles (979 kilometers) above the moon's surface.

In the zoomed version of the image, earth's natural moon can also be spotted.

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Cassini's radar team will be looking this week at the final set of new images of the hydrocarbon seas and lakes that spread across Titan's north polar region.

Cassini-Huygens will make its farewell tour on Saturn's system on April 22 and five months later will begin its "Grand Finale" by burning up into Saturn's crushing atmosphere on September 15, Space reported. At this point, the mission will conclude with Cassini plunging into Saturn's atmosphere.

The flyby also put Cassini on course for its dramatic last act, known as the Grand Finale.

Cassini received a large increase in velocity of about precisely 860.5 metres per second with respect to Saturn from the close encounter with Titan.

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Cassini captured this view on April 12, 2017, at 10:41 p.m. PDT (1:41 a.m. EDT on April 13).

Before the finale, Cassini managed to take some interesting images including an image of Earth from space.

Though the space agency released the photo today, Cassini actually captured it on January 30, 2017, when the probe was about 221,000 miles (356,000 km) from Tethys.

NASA plans to crash the spacecraft into Saturn to avoid any chance Cassini could someday collide with Titan, the ocean-bearing moon Enceladus or any other moon that has the potential to support indigenous microbial life. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

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