NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for the past eight years and has now taken what could be considered the best-looking image of Saturn ever taken, we leave it up to you to judge.
The picture was taken on October 17 when Cassini was on the planet’s shadow side. NASA describes the image:”Obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May. 17, 2012 at a distance of Approximately 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) from Saturn. scale Image at Saturn is about 30 miles per pixel (50 kilometers per pixel). ”
NASA began to plan for the Cassini probe in 1982, but the project development took a very long until the probe was eventually ready for departure to Saturn in 1997. It arrived in 2004 and has ever since been orbiting the planet.
Cassini has seven primary objectives:
- Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn
- Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object
- Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere
- Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere
- Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level
- Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes
- Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale
A probe lander named the Huygens was carried on the Cassini spacecraft. An atmospheric entry probe with a mission to examine Saturn’s moon Titan. Cassini was built by NASA but the probe was built by the European Space Agency (ESA) and named after the Dutch 17th-century astronomer Christiaan Huygens.
Huygens separated from Cassini on December 25, 2004, and landed on Titan on January 14, 2005 near the Xanadu region. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.
Cassini at Saturn Mission Page