Here is the last great portrait of Saturn taken by Cassini. A farewell portrait and also a family portrait. Two days after capturing these images, the space probe completed its mission started in 2004 by sinking into the thick atmosphere of the giant planet.
Article originally published on November 24, 2017.
How many years before seeing againso close, in all its glory? Here is the last great portrait of the “Lord of the Rings”, a giant planet which orbiting 1.3 billion kilometers from Earth’s orbit. It was taken on September 13, 2017 by the probe , two days before his suicide dive in the of the giant planet she explored for 13 years.
This stunning photo actually brings together 42 red, green and blue images captured by the wide-angle camera of. They were assembled by the mission’s imagery team to compose this family portrait in ” natural ”. Yes, a family portrait because there is not only surrounded by its multiple rings in the photo. Take a good look, we can also see several satellites of his court which has more than 60: Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, and .
A portrait of “Farewell to Saturn”
The team had been preparing this farewell sight for years. Needless to say how painful it was for them. “It was hard to say goodbye but how lucky we were to be able to see everything through theof Cassini! “, greeted Elizabeth Turtle, who has collaborated during all these years in imaging with the JHUAPL laboratory.
“This ‘farewell to Saturn’ will forever remind us of the spectacular conclusion of the wonderful time that humanity has spent in the intimate study of the most emblematic planetary system of our Sun”, said Carolyn Porco. Head of Imaging Department, she remembers the taken by the probe , “For me, one of the most evocative images ever taken in the exploration of », 37 years ago and in which she was involved (prior to leading the Cassini imaging team at the Institute for Space Science in Boulder, she worked on the Voyager team).
Saturn seen by Cassini before its arrival
Article bypublished on December 10, 2003
Today all eyes are on Mars due to the strong activity expected over the next few weeks with the landing of 3. The British rover opens the ball with a first attempt on the night of December 24 to 25, 2003. Then, it will be the turn of the two rovers of the MER program of the to reach the surface of the red planet. Spirit is expected on January 3, 2004 and his twin must land at the antipodes of the first, January 24, 2004. But, let us not forget Cassini-Huygens who continues his journey started on October 15, 1997 towards Saturn.
The last snapshot (see below) of the ringed planet taken by the probe shows the planet, its ring system and five of its satellites. It was taken on November 9, 2003 at a distance of 111.4 million km. This image is compared to the one taken a year earlier (see photo below), on October 21, 2002, at a distance of 258 million km.
For HD images, the planet appears sharper, details unseen a year earlier are revealed and the smallest measure some 668 km. The image can distinguish many more rings and shows instructive details of the planet’s atmosphere.
The satellites that appear faintly bright in the image are Rhea, Dione, Enceladus and, to the right and above the planet, Tethys and Mimas. Due to their low, NASA increased it to make them appear in the image.
Cassini-Huygens is a joint project between NASA, theand the Italian Space Agency. The American orbiter Cassini is to orbit around Saturn in July 2004 and study the planet, its magnificent ring system and its satellites throughout its operational phase. As for the European probe Huygens, it will reach the surface of in January 2005. However, due to the thick atmospheric layer surrounding the main of Saturn, scientists are unable to determine whether the small rest on a solid surface or , hence the uncertainty on the of the mission.