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Cassini's Triumph at Saturn, Part 2
Hugh Bollinger

Cassini's Triumph at Saturn, Part 2

Water geysers on Enceladus (credit: Cassini mission)

The international Cassini-Huygens mission spent thirteen years orbiting Saturn making scientific measurements, gathering data, and imaging the golden, ringed planet and its numerous moons. The myriad of discoveries that Cassini made and the gathered data continue to present new and exciting surprises. Among those include the European Space Agency's hitchhiking instrument, the Huygens lander, which became the first space probe to land on the moon of another planet, Titan; observing that Saturn's north pole has hexagonal cyclones larger than the Earth; the tiny moon Iapetus has a moon-wide mountain range reaching twelve miles high; and that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus has continually erupting water geysers with a chemistry not unlike the oceans on Earth. The second part of the Triumph at Saturn was produced by the Jet Propulsion Labatory (JPL) to explain these and other accomplishments. 

As Cassini's exploration of Saturn was reaching its conclusion, the probe's nuclear-powered fuel was almost depleted, the Lab designed a Grand Finale for the successful mission. Cassini would make a series of dives between Saturn's rings to capture its last data and images before plunging into the planet's atmosphere to be crushed by the pressure. JPL artists produced a concept illustration of what Cassini would be seeing as it ended its tour. The Lab received an Emmy Award for its television and media coverage of Cassini's remarkable engineering and scientific achievements. WHB

                              Cassini's Grand Finale (credit: JPL)

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