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NASA's Cassini spacecraft acquires splendid images of Saturn

The mission made numerous dramatic discoveries, including the surprising geologic activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus and liquid methane seas on Saturn's largest moon, Titan

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Saturn, NASA, Cassini
Before taking its final dive, @CassiniSaturn took one last glance at Saturn’s icy moon Rhea

has released a stunning view of the and its splendid rings and moons, captured by the during the final leg of its 20- year-long epic journey in

The probe snapped a series of images that have been assembled into a new mosaic.

Cassini's wide-angle camera acquired 42 red, green and blue images, covering the planet and its main rings from one end to the other on September 13 this year.

Imaging scientists stitched these frames together to make a natural colour view. The scene also includes the moons Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Mimas and Enceladus.

"Cassini's scientific bounty has been truly spectacular - a vast array of new results leading to new insights and surprises, from the tiniest of ring particles to the opening of new landscapes on and Enceladus, to the deep interior of itself," said Robert West, Cassini's deputy imaging team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.

The Cassini imaging team had been planning this special farewell view of for years. For some, when the end finally came, it was a difficult goodbye.

"It was all too easy to get used to receiving new images from the Saturn system on a daily basis, seeing new sights, watching things change," said Elizabeth Turtle, an imaging team associate at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the US.

For others, Cassini's farewell to Saturn is reminiscent of another parting from long ago.

"For 37 years, Voyager 1's last view of Saturn has been, for me, one of the most evocative images ever taken in the exploration of the solar system," said Carolyn Porco, former Voyager imaging team member and Cassini's imaging team leader at the Science Institute in the US.

"In a similar vein, this 'Farewell to Saturn' will forevermore serve as a reminder of the dramatic conclusion to that wondrous time humankind spent in the intimate study of our Sun's most iconic planetary system," said Porco.

Launched in 1997, the orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017.

The mission made numerous dramatic discoveries, including the surprising geologic activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus and liquid methane seas on Saturn's largest moon,

Cassini ended its journey with a dramatic plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15, this year, returning unique science data until it lost contact with Earth.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 22 2017. 19:03 IST
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