Cassini orbiter at Saturn, artwork

Cassini orbiter at Saturn, artwork

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cassini orbiter at Saturn. Computer artwork of the joint NASA-ESA Cassini orbiter during the Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) manoeuvre, just after the main engine has begun firing. The Cassini-Huygens mission was launched from Earth in 1997 and took 7 years to reach Saturn and its moons. The Huygens probe separated from Cassini on 25th December 2004, and descended to the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in early 2005. The Cassini orbiter then continued on to Saturn itself. The SOI manoeuvre will allow Cassini to be captured by Saturn's gravity into a five-month orbit. Cassini's close proximity to the planet after the manoeuvre offers a unique opportunity to observe Saturn and its rings at extremely high resolution.

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