Science: Before NASA’s Cassini flies into Saturn, take a look back at its best images



NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took seven years to travel nearly 2.2 billion miles to reach Saturn — but once it got there in 2004, it started taking some breathtaking pictures of the planet, its rings, and many moons.

This Friday, after 13 years of orbiting Saturn and making ground-breaking discoveries, Cassini will take a plunge into the planet’s atmosphere, where incredibly high temperatures will melt and break apart the probe. The death dive has been planned for years as a way to protect some of Saturn’s moon, like Titan and Enceladus, which might harbor life. By destroying Cassini, NASA is making sure the spacecraft — and the Earth microbes that may have hitched a ride on it — aren’t going to contaminate those alien worlds.

In its final orbits, called the “Grand Finale,”



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