Arguably the most photogenic planet in the solar system, Saturn is a wonder to view, especially from orbit, as NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has demonstrated since arriving at the Saturn system in 2004.
The Cassini mission website has been sharing raw, unprocessed versions of images sent to Earth by the spacecraft. On June 30 (July 1 GMT), Cassini will celebrate 10 years exploring Saturn, its rings and moons. To help mark 10 years in orbit, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has created a special gallery on the Saturn website where members of the public can experience “15 minutes of frame” by submitting their own amateur images made up from image data brought back by Cassini.
With more than a half-dozen images and GIFs already live on the page, users are invited to visit Cassini’s raw image database, dig through the treasure trove and create their own digital masterpiece (like the one above created by JPL) and suggested caption. The submission process involves filling out a form and uploading the image. Guidelines and further information can be found on NASA’s Cassini solstice mission Web page.
Now that Cassini has completed its first decade of observations, mission planners are looking forward to the next phase, when the spacecraft’s instruments will return additional data and images. The mission will probe the densest part of the geysers spewing from Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and dive between Saturn and its innermost ring.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.