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Piloting NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Between Saturn's Rings Takes Finesse—and Hydrazine

It takes spinning reaction wheels and rockets firing for mere seconds to keep the Cassini probe on course in orbit around Saturn.

Strict rules around contamination hamper exploration for life beyond Earth

NASA's orbiter Cassini will make a series of decreasing orbits that will end in a fiery death dive into Saturn's atmosphere in September. This deliberate termination of a still serviceable spacecraft is to comply with "planetary protection" protocols, designed to minimise the risk of depositing stowaway Earth microbes into an environment where they might be able to reproduce.

Image: Saturnian dawn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft peers toward a sliver of Saturn's sunlit atmosphere while the icy rings stretch across the foreground as a dark band.

NASA's Cassini Mission Grand Finale at Saturn --Join Live At NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (Today's 'Galaxy' Stream)

During its journey, Cassini has made many discoveries, including a global ocean with hydrothermal activity within Saturn's moon Enceladus, and vast seas of liquid methane on the planet's largest moon, Titan. Cassini began the final, dramatic phase of its mission,...        

It’s summer on Saturn’s moon Titan, but you wouldn’t want to visit

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been hanging out around Saturn and its moons for over a decade and a half now, and it's seen a lot of really awesome sights during its visit. The planet's moon of Titan has gotten its fair share of attention...Show More Summary

6 Amazing NASA Cassini Images

The Cassini spacecraft has sent back a ton of images and data to NASA and Earth during its time in the outer solar system. Here’s a look back at some of the most amazing photos.

Image: Mimas over Saturn's north pole

From high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, NASA's Cassini spacecraft gazes over the planet's north pole, with its intriguing hexagon and bullseye-like central vortex. 

Cassini is once more lord of the rings, after surviving seventh Saturn dive

3 weeks agoTechnology / Gadgets : Gizmag

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has beamed back some stunning views of Saturn's rings, taken on June 4, as the probe sped through the 1,500-mile (2,400-km) gap separating the gas giant's uppermost cloud layers and innermost rings. With the...Show More Summary

52 stunning images from the Cassini spacecraft

One of NASA's greatest spacecraft will call it quits on September 15, 2017. The Cassini spacecraft has made countless discoveries during its sojourn to Saturn and its surrounding moons. It has also sent back nearly 400,000 images, many...Show More Summary

In a cosmic hit-and-run, icy Saturn moon may have flipped

(Cornell University) Enceladus -- a large icy, oceanic moon of Saturn -- may have flipped, the possible victim of an out-of-this-world wallop. While combing through data collected by NASA's Cassini mission during flybys of Enceladus,...Show More Summary

NASA Observes Remnants of Ancient Poles & Equator on Saturn's Enceladus--"May Have Tipped Over in Distant Past"

Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past, according to recent research from NASA's Cassini mission. Researchers with the mission found evidence that the moon's spin axis -- the line through the north and south...        

A massive asteroid impact could have caused Enceladus to tip onto its side

4 weeks agoTechnology / Gadgets : Gizmag

A new study based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggests that the Saturnian moon Enceladus tipped onto its side after an asteroid collision led to the formation of the satellite's famous tiger-striped terrain. The fracturesShow More Summary

Cassini finds Saturn's moon Enceladus may have tipped over

Saturn's icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus may have tipped over in the distant past, according to recent research from NASA's Cassini mission. Researchers with the mission found evidence that the moon's spin axis—the line through the north and south poles—has reoriented, possibly due to a collision with a smaller body, such as an asteroid.

Saturn moon makes wild waves in close-up ring picture - CNET

4 weeks agoTechnology : CNET: News

As Cassini counts down its final days at Saturn, NASA looks back at a stunning image of moon-created ring waves.

NASA has noticed a puzzling change in Saturn's hexagon, a weather system the size of 2 Earths

A giant hexagon is swirling at Saturn's north pole, and scientists don't fully understand it, despite years of observation by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The hexagon — a jet stream that traps an entire polar weather system — is as wide as two planet Earths. Show More Summary

NASA’s newest photo of Jupiter will blow your mind

Lately, NASA's Cassini orbiter has been delivering some stunning photos from its trips around Saturn, but that's not the only fancy camera floating around a nearby planet. The agency's Juno spacecraft has been hanging out around Jupiter...Show More Summary

Saturn’s stunning north pole actually changed colors

NASA's Cassini orbiter was the first to deliver a really clear look at the eye-catching, hexagonal storm swirling on Saturn's north pole, so it's only fitting that the craft has now delivered a photo of the peculiar phenomenon that adds a new layer of awe. Show More Summary

See Saturn's magical color-changing north pole - CNET

A swirling NASA animation shows the shift in Saturn's north pole colors as seen by the Cassini spacecraft.

Cassini looks on as solstice arrives at Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft still has a few months to go before it completes its mission in September, but the veteran Saturn explorer reaches a new milestone today. Saturn's solstice—that is, the longest day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day of winter in the southern hemisphere—arrives today for the planet and its moons. Show More Summary

The 5 biggest discoveries from NASA's Cassini spacecraft that changed our view of space

For the last 13 years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spied on Saturn and its many moons. Turns out, this region of space could hold the greatest secrets of our solar system. Here are 5 of the most fascinating discoveries Cassini has given us so far. Follow Tech Insider: On Facebook Join the conversation about this story »

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