First Up Close Images Of Saturn From Cassini Space Probe
The Cassini Probe Sends Back Closest Images Ever Of The Planet Saturn!
NASA released a series of detailed images this week from it’s Cassini space probe. The images in the following video were captured as the Cassini probe dove down below Saturn’s outer rings. The probe skimmed the planet’s upper atmosphere at a distance of about 1,900 miles, traveling at speeds of more than 4000 mph.
As far as NASA knows no other vehicle has ever come so close to the planet Saturn. It is an accomplishment that makes a moon landing look like a walk in the park. Consider the fact that NASA fired the Cassini space probe into the solar system nearly 20 years ago with the intent of it reaching the ringed planet. It’s not like the probe was launched into outer-space with the hopes that it would reach some distant universal body.
Cassini is reaching the end of it’s mission, it’s grande finale. It will continue to orbit Saturn, swooping in closer and closer in the following months. Then in September it will perform it’s final pass and descend into the depths of Saturn’s gassy atmosphere. The images and data that Cassini sends back during this final hurrah are expected to permanently change our understanding of planetary gas giants like Saturn.
One of the coolest things that have come from NASA’s Cassini probe are the super clear photos of Saturn’s hexagonal northern pole! To this day Saturn’s hexagonal northern pole is an absolute mystery. Many people speculate the hexagon is caused by a complex jet stream acting in sync with the planet’s rotation. There is also speculation that the hexagon is some sort of portal, or star gate. Yet others believe Saturn is some kind of machine built by the gods to serve some spiritual service. I tend to believe that the geometric shape is caused by the planets vibrations. Regardless of what is causing the hexagon to form over Saturn’s northern pole the Cassini probe did one hell of a job documenting the phenomena.
As if the shape of Saturn’s north pole wasn’t mysterious enough! NASA has reported that the Saturn’s hexagon changes colors depending on what season it is. The two photos below captured by the Cassini space craft show Saturn in 2012 and then again in 2016. Like the hexagon itself, the color change is complete mystery to scientists.
For more amazing photos and information about NASA’s Cassini space program visit the Cassini mission page here!