Feeds

SPACE, the FINAL FRONTIER: These are the images of the star probe Cassini

Its 20-year mission: To boldly go where no robot of man has gone before

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

OK, we don't have starships yet. But on some days a space enthusiast can smile anyway - on a day like today, when NASA releases new and tremendously cool photos, in this case from the probe craft Cassini - now nine years into its twenty-year mission to survey the strange new worlds of the far-flung Saturnian system.

Home

The images were taken back in July, when everything lined up just right for Cassini to get pictures of mighty Saturn and its magnificent rings backlit by the Sun - and, as an added bonus, the inner-system planets Mars, Venus and our own Earth were in the snaps too. Normally, pics of mother Terra from so far off are rare as tasking them generally risks pointing sensitive cameras at the Sun and damaging them. In this case, the protective bulk of Saturn gave the Cassini lensmen full, er, scope for their talents.

Since then, the darkroom lads and lasses at NASA have been hard at work stitching and cutting - anticipated previously by some gifted amateurs - to produce the definitive collection.

According to the space-agency pic wranglers:

Cassini's imaging team processed 141 wide-angle images to create the panorama. The image sweeps 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across Saturn and its inner ring system, including all of Saturn's rings out to the E ring, which is Saturn's second outermost ring. For perspective, the distance between Earth and our moon would fit comfortably inside the span of the E ring.

"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," enthuses Carolyn Porco, Cassini's justifiably chuffed imaging team chief at the Space Science Institute in Colorado.

Cassini was launched in 1997 and NASA hopes its plutonium generators will keep it operational in the Saturnian system until 2017 at least. Not only did the craft carry the Huygens lander to its fateful setdown on enigmatic Titan, Saturn's mighty patio-gas ice moon - home to the liquid hydrocarbon Sea of Krakens - it has also found entirely new moons and made literally hundreds of other fascinating discoveries.

It's hats off and pints upraised to Cassini, we say here on the Reg space desk: keep the good stuff coming. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.