February 11th, 2010

Saturn's rings

Astro-Porn of the Day: Cassini Gets a Stay of Execution

This year, the international Cassini-Huygens mission exploring Saturn and its moons was scheduled to end. Cassini was launched in 1997 with the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, arrived at the Saturn system in 2004, and was originally scheduled to explore through 2008. That was extended through 2010, and now NASA announced another extension to 2017.

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Huygens uses six instruments to study Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Cassini's 12 instruments have returned a daily stream of data from Saturn's system for nearly six years. And here's the main dump site for new Cassini images. Here's the official Cassini site. And here's the ESA's Huygens site.

In addition to breathtaking shots of Saturn (as above), we get all kinds of amazing imagery like this shot of the moon Enceladus passing in front of the moon Rhea:

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Hooray for Cassini continuing to send us gorgeous exploration reports for another seven years!