Cassini Spacecraft successfully penetrates through Saturn's Rings

Images NASA  JPL-Caltech  SSI  Sophia Nasr. Animation Tom Yulsman

Images NASA JPL-Caltech SSI Sophia Nasr. Animation Tom Yulsman

Raw images returned by the spacecraft revealed the existence of a dark storm-like feature (which was referred to as a "giant hurricane" in a NASA Twitter post) that was about 1,500 miles across and which was later confirmed to be "the center of the vortex at its pole", Space.com noted.

"No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before".

"Cassini spacecraft has once again blazed a trail, showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare", National Aeronautics and Space Administration planetary sciences chief Jim Green said in a statement.

The Cassini probe recently performed first of the 22 death-defying dives between Saturn and its rings.

"No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before", explained Cassini project manager Earl Maize of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The robotic probe spacecraft has been orbiting the planet for 13 years and on 27th of April, 2017 it finally found a narrow gap between the planet and it's closest ring. "I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape". Since its arrival, the craft has extensively photographed numerous gas giant's moons, its rings and even framed one photo that showed Saturn and its rings, with Earth seen as a small bright dot in the distance. The gap between the rings and the top of Saturn's atmosphere is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles across (1,900 to 2,400 kilometers).

Senate summons suspended SGF Babachir over corruption allegations
The panel, which has Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami and National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. A source said the suspended SGF had been served with the invitation letter.

Cassini is travelling through the gap at a relative speed of about some 77,000 miles per hour (124,000 kph) so even small particles striking the spacecraft can be deadly.

The ship was protected by a large antenna that was used as a sort of shield. Until then, however, it will make 22 orbits between Saturn's rings and cloud tops.

While risky, this 4 1/2-month grand finale is expected to yield a treasure trove of science.

The Cassini spacecraft will perform similar manoeuvres during its subsequent dives, the second of which is scheduled for Tuesday.

In September, the spacecraft's last dive will have it plummeting straight into Saturn itself, and the probe will be lost forever.

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