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Cassini Survives First "Grand Finale" Dive


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is a survivor. Launched in 1997, Cassini has given us an amazing ride, becoming the only mission to enter orbit around Saturn and explore the planet, its rings, and its system of moons in amazing, never-before-seen detail.


Now, Cassini is astounding us once again, as it completed the first of 22 Grand Finale orbits this week, becoming the first mission to thread the gap between Saturn and the inner edge of its rings.


"No spacecraft has ever seen Saturn this close before," says Earl Maize(NASA-JPL)in a recent press release. "We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn’s other rings. I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in great shape."


The first raw closeup images of Saturn are simply amazing. Here, we see the dark "eye" of the polar hexagon and churning convection cells of Saturn’s upper atmosphere.


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