Delicate, But Dangerous

From a few hundred thousand miles away, Saturn’s rings look so fine and fragile. This image, captured about a month ago, is on the main Cassini page, but other items headline above it.

It would be serious trouble for Cassini should it ever attempt to fly through the rings. What looks delicate is actually speeding chunks of ice and dust that would demolish any spacefarer travelling through. That flight is a possibility for the end of the mission, though. On the outside chance that the Cassini probe would contaminate Titan or Enceladus or somewhere else in the Saturn system, mission planners would intentionally plunge the craft into the rings or the planet.

Thankfully, that day is still years away.

Meanwhile, RADAR is being used to probe under Titan’s cloud deck. Here’s a bit of the Xanadu highlands:

That white-dashed line is a glitch. Everything else is real Titan.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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