On the final chapter of the Cassini Mission, the spacecraft has sent back some truly inspiring images. Cassini flew only 3,000 km from the gaseous masses of Saturn yesterday and just 300 metres from Saturn’s signature rings. This is the first time we’ve glimpsed what’s between Saturn and its rings.
"No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before, I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape, " said Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The raw images expose huge hurricanes and intriguing, swirling clouds and storms. NASA is publishing the unprocessed images as they come in from Cassini on their website here.
We did it! Cassini is in contact with Earth and sending back data after a successful dive through the gap between Saturn and its rings. pic.twitter.com/cej1yO7T6a— CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) April 27, 2017
"In the grandest tradition of exploration, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has once again blazed a trail, showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," Jim Green, director of Planetary Science at NASA divulged in a statement.
The Cassini mission will end on September 15 when the spacecraft is directed (on purpose) to crash into the planet’s atmosphere.