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Glimpse of the Heavens, or, Thank You NASA

In the midst of tax and flu seasons, with national news focused on the uncertainties of a possible war and local news focused on gruesome local murders, it's nice to find evidence of an absolutely fantastic human achievement.

On October 15, 1997, NASA, in collaboration with space agencies from Europe, launched the Cassini spacecraft headed for Saturn by way of Jupiter, and NASA has recently posted a collection of absolutely amazing photos from that mission-in-progress.

"Cassini will go into orbit around Saturn and study its atmosphere, magnetic fields, rings, and icy moons. The Huygens probe, supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA), will scrutinize the clouds, atmosphere, and surface of Saturn's moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft is also carrying an additional special payload -- a compact disk with the digitized signatures of about a million school children."(1)

On its way to Saturn, Cassini has done a lengthy fly-by of Jupiter, sending back thousands of photographs of our solar system's largest planet and its moons.

A sampling of these stunning pictures is now available at this NASA web site: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/jupiter-flyby/index.cfm, which also includes tons of information on the space mission and numerous resources for educators.



This story was posted on 2003-03-08 11:24:08
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