The Cassini Mission to Saturn has been a powerful and significant step in the exploration of our solar system—a cooperative venture of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (the Italian Space Agency).
Since being launched in 1997, Cassini has flown by Jupiter, done tests regarding general relativity, orbited Saturn, and done close flybys of several of Saturn’s moons, not to mention delivering the Huygens probe to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan—all while sending back reams and reams of data to scientists.
On August 17, Cassini completed its final close flyby of Saturn’s moon Dione, at a distance of 295 miles. NASA just released some of the imagery and it is truly gorgeous. Check these beauties out:
To see the full photoset on NASA’s site, click here.
Next up, another Titan flyby and then two flybys of Enceladus, the second of which will be so close (30 miles out) that it will gain new insights into the composition of Enceladus’s plumes. If you’re interested, NASA has a full timeline posted on the site.
Enjoy! Feel free to wax effusive about the beauty of our solar system in the comments below!