Cassini, The Great Explorer
By: Jenna Hans
More than 20 years ago, NASA launched Cassini, a spacecraft that would give insight into an entire new world. Cassini spent almost 20 years in space exploring Saturn, its rings, moons, and magnetosphere. According to NASA JPL, Cassini observed Saturn’s unique hexagonal jet stream. The jet stream is a bit of a mystery since scientist don’t know exactly why it flows the way it does. Cassini also recorded lightning on Saturn, hurricane like storms, and since Saturn’s “30 year storm” came 10 years early, scientists were able to get an amazing look at the storm.
Throughout its mission, Cassini also discovered interesting things about Enceladus and Titan, two of Saturn’s moons. The spacecraft was able to discover geysers on Enceladus, the icy ocean moon. After this mission, Enceladus has become a point of interest planet where scientist think life might exist. On Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, Cassini found methane pools and evidence that there might actually be an underground ocean on the moon.
During its almost 20 years of space exploration Cassini discovered and photographed things that people could have never even dream of. It opened our eyes to brand new and exciting information and leaves us all wondering what else is out there waiting to be discovered. In its last moments, after almost 20 years of exploring the depths of space, Cassini began its descent toward Saturn where it burnt up and was destroyed. Committed to science and exploration, Cassini sent in information and data up until its final moments, making the ultimate sacrifice for science. The amazing feats of Cassini remind us of the doors that technology can open for us, and just how amazing life beyond our planet really can be.
See Cassini’s total timeline here: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/the-journey/timeline/#the-grand-finale
Read more about Cassini’s discoveries here: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/
See the full gallery of Cassini’s images: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/galleries/images/?page=0&per_page=25&order=created_at+desc&search=&condition_1=1%3Ais_in_resource_list&category=51&fancybox=true&href_query_params=category%3Dimages