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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.