Just two months ago, we wrote about Cassini passing close by Saturns rings and taking some amazing photos.
The spacecraft is on its last mission before being retired, but to ensure that it does not crash on any of Saturn’s moons (like Titan, Enceladus or Europa) where scientists believe the conditions for life may exist, the spacecraft will be directed to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, 2017, destroying it.
Cassini is now in the midst of 22, ring-grazing orbits, after which it will maneuver itself into a path that will take it between the rings and the planet itself on April 26. The spacecraft will then make 22 weekly dives through the unexplored gap between the planet and its rings.
But until then, it continues to deliver some fantastic photos of the ringed planet, revealing the planet as it has never been seen before. With ssome cool new shots of the atmospheric vortex at the center of Saturn’s north polar hexagon captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft this week.
And now, it gives us this.
— Jason Major (@JPMajor) 31 mars 2017
Compiled using raw data that was posted to Cassini’s image archive yesterday. Space enthusiast Jason Major gives us a great look at Saturns north-polar hexagon.