Cassini Returns From First Dive Into Saturn’s Rings
Follow the ringleader. After briefly losing contact with NASA, the 20-year-old spacecraft beamed back dramatic images, including the best views yet of the giant hurricane raging at Saturn’s north pole. This first dive brought it within 1,900 miles of the planet’s cloud tops and 200 miles of the inner rings. With its fuel running out, Cassini’s begun its final mission: increasingly close and dangerous dives to collect data on Saturn’s atmosphere and magnetic field. It’ll make 21 more dives before plunging into the planet’s surface Sept. 15.