When NASA launched the Cassini spacecraft to Saturn two decades ago, flip phones were the pinnacle of cellular technology and using the internet required tying up your phone line. In the last 20 years, our technological lives have been revolutionized, and so has our understanding of Saturn, its moons, and our solar system, thanks to Cassini and its probe, Huygens. Perhaps most exciting, the mission has given us new targets in the search for life beyond Earth: its data revealed that the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus is hiding a liquid-water ocean with hydrothermal vents, deep-sea features that, on Earth, are teeming with life. Here’s a look at Cassini’s mission and major discoveries. Check out the gallery below for some of its most astonishingly beautiful photos, and join our friends at WSF Brisbane as they attend the live-streamed #GrandFinale and final broadcast of data from the Cassini mission.
“The Day the Earth Smiled: Sneak Preview,” NASA.
“Cassini: The Grand Finale,” NASA.
“The 5 Biggest Discoveries from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft That Changed Our View of Space,” Business Insider.
“10 Awesome Things We Learned About Saturn in 2013,” WIRED.
“Cassini Sees Saturn Storm’s Explosive Power,” NASA.
“Cassini Reveals New Ring Quirks, Shadows During Saturn Equinox,” NASA.
“Jurassic Web,” Slate.
“A Look Back at Cell Phones Before the iPhone,” AM New York.
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