Cassini Photos: Probe Returns Staggering Close-Ups Of Saturn’s Atmosphere

NASA has made contact with Cassini after the probe completed its first death-defying dive in between Saturn and its rings.

The probe has relayed a series of staggering close-up images, which were captured during its 70,000mph plunge.

The raw files present Saturn’s atmosphere in unprecedented detail, revealing features that span just 150 metres.

Cassini took the photos during the first of 22 dives designed to bring it closer to Saturn than ever before.

Jim Green, director of the planetary science division at NASA, said: ‘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.”

The news was announced on NASA’s Twitter account. 

Cassini’s 12-year journey is due to come to an end in September after it completes its final dive.

NASA scientists are set upon ditching the craft in Saturn’s atmosphere before it runs out of fuel, preventing it from crashing into one of the planet’s 53 moons.

There’s a slim chance that Enceladus and Titan might harbour life, and a satellite from Earth poses a major contamination risk.

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