Planets and Moons  ID: 12735

Cassini's Last Images

The Cassini spacecraft was our emissary to Saturn. Launched in 1997, the Cassini-Huygens mission, a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency, traveled for seven years to reach the ringed planet and its 62 moons. Its arrival in 2004, marked the beginning of an extraordinary 13 years of discovery beginning in 2005 with the Huygens lander setting down on the moon Titan, one of the most Earth-like worlds with its own weather, climate and geology. Cassini revealed the uniqueness of each moon. For example, scientists discovered that icy plumes Cassini saw emanating from the moon Enceladus's south pole indicate an underground ocean, which may be one of the most promising places to search for life in our solar system. Enceladus's plumes also create Saturn's E ring, one of many discoveries about the complex ring system whose origin is still a mystery. Of the planet itself, Cassini observed vast storms in Saturn's atmosphere and brought us closer to understanding the complex gas giant. On Sept. 15, 2017, the out-of-fuel spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere and ended its mission. Explore the remarkable images Cassini took in its last month at Saturn.

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Lead Writer:
Ellen T. Gray (ADNET)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio and NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech

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