Well if this lil’ home video doesn’t fill you with excitement and awe, check your pulse because you’re probably dead.
NASA’s Cassini’s spacecraft has been undergoing a series of risky AF “dives” or “ring crossings,” swooping between Saturn and its icy rings and over the planet’s surface, capturing some incredible images (and spooky sounds) in the process.
Now, prepare to have your space pants blown off by this — an incredible movie-like sequence of images captured on April 26 on the first of the craft’s “grand finale” dives.
Captured at 6,800 miles per hour (aka 45 times faster than a speeding bullet) the “movie” represents the exploration of uncharted territory for the $3.26 billion mission.
Kunio Sayanagi, an associate of the Cassini imaging team who helped create the movie said, “I was surprised to see so many sharp edges along the hexagon’s outer boundary and the eye-wall of the polar vortex. Something must be keeping different latitudes from mixing to maintain those edges.”
A second animation, tacked onto the footage, adds an image of Saturn for reference. The red dot on the Saturn image shows the location of each frame in the movie.
The third and final animation shows Cassini’s position and orientation above Saturn as the images were being taken, along with the camera’s field of view projected onto the planet.
The 22nd and final orbit will destroy the probe, burning it up in the clouds of Saturn on September 15, 2017.
Until, just sit back and ponder how small and insignificant we all are. Thanks, NASA!