52 Of Cassini's Most Beautiful Postcards From The Outer Solar System

The spacecraft completely changed our view of Saturn and her moons.
06/06/2017 03:25 pm ET Updated Jun 06, 2017
Viewing Saturn through different colored filters, Cassini created this psychedelic composition.
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Viewing Saturn through different colored filters, Cassini created this psychedelic composition.

One of NASA's greatest spacecraft will call it quits on September 15, 2017. The Cassini spacecraft has made countless discoveries during its sojourn to Saturn and its surrounding moons. It has also sent back nearly 400,000 images, many of which are purely spectacular, with surely more to come during the final months of the mission as Cassini explores new territory between Saturn and its rings.

In honor of the brave spacecraft, we spent hours sifting through the deluge of images to highlight some of Cassini's best views from Saturn.

Criss-Crossed Rings
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Criss-Crossed Rings

This impossible criss-cross pattern was created when a shadow of Saturn’s rings fell across the real ones.

A Close Up of Pan
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
A Close Up of Pan

A skirt of material around its middle makes this moon look like a dumpling.

Saturn has a lot of moons — 53 at last count.

Saturn glows in a false color
ASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Saturn glows in a false color

This image shows how heat is distributed across the gas giant and its rings.

Many moons
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Many moons

Can you spot all three moons in this picture? The brightest is the icy Enceladus. Pandora appears below Enceladus, just above the rings, and Mimas hides in the lower right.

Blue titan
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho
Blue titan

Titan looks a lot like Earth in this composite image. Peering through the haze, Cassini revealed that this large moon has lakes and streams of liquid methane on its surface, making it one of the top spots to search for alien life in our solar system.

Hey look, that’s us!
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Hey look, that’s us!

That bright dot under Saturn’s rings is Earth, from 898 million miles away.

Enceladus
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Enceladus

It looks chilly, but Enceladus has a salty ocean on the inside that may be capable of supporting life.

Make way
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Make way

Small moons can have a big impact. Here, the 26-mile-wide Pan cuts a 200-mile gap through Saturn's rings. It shares the road with two faint little ringlets.

Daphnis makes waves
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Daphnis makes waves

The gravity of this five-mile-wide moon perturbs the orbit of the ring particles, carving ripples that gradually settle back down later.

For more of Cassini's most beautiful postcards from the outer solar system, visit Popular Science.

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