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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.

Click the image to see the story.

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:

Click the image to see the story.

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




( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
It's a relief to see this kept alive what with all the other funding cuts.
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
I know! A comfort, especially after this administration cut human Moon exploration.
Feb. 11th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Yep, that still irks.
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
There are some things that are definitely worth the tax money spent on them. This is one. I'm glad it'll keep going a while longer.
Feb. 12th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
I agree!
Feb. 12th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC)
Turn the first photo of Enceladus and Rhea sideways and it reminds you of 2001.
Feb. 12th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
Good eye!
Feb. 12th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
wow! i LOVE some of those images up in the gallery, esp the animated ones. i didn't realize the little moons didn't spin. i don't know why i thought they should, tho, either. :)
Feb. 12th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. I could spend all day looking at those sites.

In fact, the reason I first bought a sort-of high-end graphics-capable computer was when I realized that NASA was posting tons of imagery on their website (just as raw files back then). It's been a one of the places I go to experience sensawonder, and it only gets better!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )