Last month, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft disappeared into Saturn’s atmosphere in the grand finale of a 20-year mission to study the giant planet.
Before its demise, the spacecraft’s cameras sent back a series of final pictures from Saturn. Those pictures are in focus Friday at a special show in Caldwell.
Amy Truksa is the Director of the Whittenberger Planetarium at the College of Idaho, and to her, Cassini is her favorite mission to talk about.
“Every time I get to do a Cassini show I’m just so happy to revisit that planet and its system,” Truksa says.
Cassini launched in 1997 and spent years studying Saturn and its moons. In April, NASA sent Cassini where no spacecraft had gone before, to the gap between Saturn and its rings. It took hundreds of pictures from angles no human has ever seen.
“Cassini was able to look at these things from every possible angle, above and below and the front and the back. It’s pretty powerful. We’ve learned a lot from that spacecraft,” says Truksa.
She says the last photographs are a final look at Saturn's system before the end of the mission.
“They’re sentimental farewell pictures of some of our favorite places in the Saturnian system. Titan, there’s the final picture of Titan that Cassini would be able to take and one last landscape shot of Saturn’s rings,” Truksa says.
Friday at the Whittenberger Planetarium, Truksa plans to highlight the final pictures that were sent back from Cassini before NASA sent it tumbling into Saturn to avoid contaminating any of the gas giant's moons. She’ll talk about the spacecraft’s final hours as well as show off some of her favorite pictures from the 20-year mission. Truksa plans to also highlight Cassini in the November 10 planetarium show.
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