Cassini snaps handsome photo of Earth before final 'death dive'

Cassini snaps handsome photo of Earth before final 'death dive'

Cassini snaps handsome photo of Earth before final 'death dive'

With Saturn's impressive rings in the foreground, there's a tiny speck in the background that is in fact, Earth!

A new image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between the icy rings of Saturn.

This cropped, zoomed-in version of the above image makes it easier to see the Moon - a smaller, fainter dot to the left of Earth's bright dot. Cassini then transmitted images and other data to Earth after the encounter, which will be looked at by scientists investigating Titan.

"Cassini's up-close exploration of Titan is now behind us, but the rich volume of data the spacecraft has collected will fuel scientific study for decades to come", Linda Spilker, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement Monday.

Cassini also will study Saturn's atmosphere and take measurements to determine the size of the planet's rocky core.

This made Cassini's grand finale death dive more special since images like this is considered rare during the entirety of its mission.

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Earl Maize, the Cassini project manager, said that the flyby caused the spacecraft to a ballistic path.

Cassini received a large increase in velocity of about precisely 860.5 metres per second with respect to Saturn from the close encounter with Titan.

Cassini-Huygens will also map the planet's gravity and its magnetic fields as it enters the Saturn's surface and the scientist hoping that the space probe can provide important insights while the interior is rotating so fast.

The low angle of the sun over Tethys' massive canyon, Ithaca Chasma (near the terminator, at right), highlights the contours of this enormous rift in this photograph taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, January 30, 2017.

The Cassini Mission is a collaborative effort between NASA, the European Space Agency, and Italy's Space Agency.

"Ithaca Chasma is up to 60 miles (100 kilometers) wide, and runs almost three-fourths of the way around icy Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across)", NASA officials wrote in a statement today (April 24). JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

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