NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft got up close and personal with Saturn’s rings, giving us never-before-seen levels of detail in the giant discs of icy particles orbiting the planet.
This is thanks to Cassini’s “ring-grazing” mission that involves the probe making orbital dives past the outer edge of Saturn’s main ring system. This is one of Cassini’s final missions as the 20-year-old spacecraft will soon expire, plunging into the gassy planet this September.
“How fitting it is that we should go out with the best views of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever collected,” says Cassini Imaging Team Lead Carolyn Porco from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
And he’s right, this is the first chance we’ve had to see the main rings with such high-definition.
The images resolve details as small as 0.3 miles, which is about the size of some of Earth’s tallest buildings.