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NASA’s venerable Cassini spacecraft is currently grazing Saturn’s rings, beaming some astounding images back to Earth in the process.
The images, published on NASA’s website, effectively show twice the level of detail as previous imagery of the area.
“The new images resolve details as small as 0.3 miles (550 metres), which is on the scale of Earth’s tallest buildings,” the agency added, giving you a sense of how close Cassini is to the gas giant.
“As the person who planned those initial orbit-insertion ring images — which remained our most detailed views of the rings for the past 13 years — I am taken aback by how vastly improved are the details in this new collection,” said Cassini Imaging Team Lead Carolyn Porco in a NASA post. “How fitting it is that we should go out with the best views of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever collected.”
Cassini started its close, “ring-grazing” orbits in November and will conclude in April. From here, the spacecraft will enter the ‘Grand Finale’ phase of its mission, diving in between the planet and its rings.
The ‘Grand Finale’ will then culminate in Cassini crashing into Saturn.
Featured image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute