Image Cache: As Cassini’s tour of Saturn comes to a close, NASA’s getting a bit nostalgic. This week, the space agency released a photo of Saturn’s North pole the doomed spacecraft took on April 26 — the day it started its Grand Finale. It’s almost poetic to have a photo of Cassini staring into the void before it perishes within it.
In space, no one can hear you scream. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
According to NASA, Cassini snapped the picture when it was hovering 267,000km above Saturn. The planet’s North pole is notorious for the 2000km-wide storm it harbours, which Cassini has photographed many times. The hexagonal jet stream surrounding that monster cyclone creates a unique visual that’s absolutely haunting at any vantage point.
Here’s that Cassini image in full:
For context, here’s that hexagonal storm in colour filters:
Cassini has only three orbits left in its 20-year-long journey, the next of which starts today. On its final dive on September 15, it will plunge itself into Saturn’s atmosphere with its antenna pointing toward Earth, transmitting everything it can until the atmosphere overpowers it. So long and thanks for all the pics, Cassini.