New images of Saturn from the Cassini probe were released by NASA as Cassini, nearing 20 years in space, enters its latest mission phase. The Ring-Grazing Orbits phase will send the craft skimming past Saturn’s main rings. An Adcole Sun Sensor has been on-board since its initial launch in 1997 (as part of the Cassini-Huygens mission. The Huygens separated from Cassini in 2005 to land on Titan). Adcole Sun Sensors are a mission critical component for attitude determination and control as the sensor keeps the solar panels properly oriented.

The latest images show a hexagon shaped jet stream over Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The mission is an incredible technological and scientific accomplishment, as it continues to yield significant information and stunning photos of Saturn, its beautiful ring formations and intriguing moons.

It is hard to fathom how this little probe made in Marlborough, Massachusetts almost 20 years ago is now 1.2 billion kilometers away and still playing a vital role in the exploration of another planet.

Imsun-sensor-aboard-cassini-nasa-picsage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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