Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cassini's dramatic flyby

The huge ice geysers spouting from Saturn's moon Enceladus have facinated planetary scientists ever since they were discovered. With the billion-dollar Cassini probe's main mission at Saturn nearly complete, NASA decided to make a somewhat risky detour and sent the spacecraft within 50km of the moon's surface to take images and other measurements of the giant geysers. Raw imagery and a live play-by-play were posted on NASA's blog to take the people of Earth along on this successful mission. A software glitch momentarily took out an instrument to analyze the particles in the geyser, but other instruments gathered a great deal of data, and the images are stunning.

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