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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Saturn If Monet Had Painted It


     Saturn's cloud tops and polar storm in Infrared (credit: Cassini, JPL/NASA)

The Cassini space probe ran its 'last laps' orbiting Saturn by diving between the planet's rings and over the gas giant's swirling cloud tops. The scientific laboratory made 22 dips between the rings in a 'grand finale' to end its voyage of exploration of the ringed planet. JPL, which managed Cassini, produced a video of the crossing of the rings along with stunning Cassini photographs, some captured by using the probe's infrared (IR) wavelength scanner.

The photos showed Saturn to be as colorful and wildly beautiful as any impressionist painting by the French artist Claude Monet. The last pass produced even more remarkable views before Cassini plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, finished its super-successful mission, disintegrated, and became part of the planet. The Cassini mission represented one of the most successful spaces endeavors ever attempted and the data collected over 13 years of reconnaissance is still being analyzed. WHB

                       Saturn's swirling clouds in infrared (credit: Cassini, JPL/NASA)

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