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 Imran Khan

Nasa's Cassini spacecraft's bold mission to dive between Saturn's rings

The Cassini spacecraft is sending data back to Earth after diving in between Saturn's rings and cloudtops.

The probe executed the daredevil manoeuvre on Wednesday - the first of 22 plunges planned over the next five months - while out of radio contact.

Nasa's 70m-wide Deep Space Network (DSN) antenna at Goldstone, California, managed to re-establish communications at 06:56 GMT (07:56 BST) on Thursday.



The close-in dives are designed to gather ultra high-quality data.

At their best resolution, pictures of the rings should be able to pick out features as small as 150m across.

We should see stunning pictures we have never seen before of the perspective between Saturn and its rings.

The self-manned spacecraft will dip in between the planet's rings 22 times until the autumn when it will burn up in the planet's atmosphere.

Despite providing us with valuable information, the spacecraft will soon be destroyed as it is running out of fuel.

They are crashing the spacecraft very carefully, so as not to make it crush into the moons which may harbour life.

Some stunning information Cassini has given scientists includes details about possible life on Saturn's moons.

Two of the moons have liquid on them, and Cassini has flown through plumes of liquid from one of these moons, sensing hydrothermal currents which indicate possible alien life.





March 10, 2016

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