The Cassini spacecraft might be no more, but as today’s ‘Image of the Day’ from NASA shows, the legacy that it leaves behind is spectacular.
This breathtaking image of Saturn was taken just a month before the spacecraft descended into the gas giant’s atmosphere.
The image shows Saturn’s enormous rings, vast swathes of ice and debris that are in places are no more than a few metres thick.
In the top right-hand corner you can make out Saturn’s moon Pandora, barely more than a single pixel in this image.
To give you some idea of the immense size of Saturn, the image was taken at a distance of almost 600,000km from the planet.
Having spent 13 years in space, Cassini was able to capture many other incredible images of Saturn, including close-ups of its many moons, the rings and even the planet’s mysterious atmosphere.
However on the 15 September, Cassini’s mission came to an end.
As the spacecraft headed down into the planet’s atmosphere it was constantly broadcasting data and images. You can actually see the raw images as their being sent to NASA here.
Launched in 1997, Cassini took a remarkable seven-years before it finally arrived at Saturn in 2007.
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