Cassini spacecraft orbital route, illustration

Cassini spacecraft orbital route, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cassini spacecraft orbital route. Illustration of the orbital route (red) taken by the Cassini spacecraft from Earth to Saturn. This unmanned spacecraft, operated by NASA and the ESA, launched from Earth in 1997. It reached Saturn via gravity assists from Venus (twice), the Earth and Jupiter (lower centre). It arrived at Saturn in 2004, spending the next 13 years surveying the Saturnian system (planet and moons). It returned many images and observations, making many new discoveries. Its mission ended with a final dive to destruction in Saturn's atmosphere on 15 September 2017.

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