Apr 16, 2017 05:56 PM EDT
Saturn’s moon Atlas is reported to have been captured by NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft last April 12, 2017. The images are said to be the closest ever to see and study the ringed planet’s moon.
According to NASA, its Cassini spacecraft captured the image of Saturn’s moon at a closer approach of 7,000 miles or 11,000 kilometers. With that close to Saturn, Atlas was surprisingly seen by the spacecraft, thus resulting in close-up stunning images which could be seen below.
Atlas, being one of Saturn’s smallest moon was only was identified to orbit 19 miles or 30 kilometers across Saturn’s A ring, which is said to be the outermost rings of the planet. It was also compared to Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan which is 3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across the planet’s bright rings.
As seen in Atlas’ image below, it has a bulge in its center. Hence, it was given by scientists the nickname of “flying saucer.” The moon was also mentioned to have similarities with another small moon of Saturn, Pan which was mentioned to look like a “ravioli” as CNet reported.
Atlas being small was also mentioned to make a cameo on some of NASA’s Cassini captured images on its Saturn missions. One which the small planet was seen hiding behind Saturn’s rings. NASA’s Cassini then placed a description along with the image of Atlas that the close-up image would aid them in studying its shape and geology.
Yet, amid capturing Atlas’ images, NASA’s Cassini was reported to near the end of its mission as it lands on Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15. NASA’s Cassini was identified to originally launch since 1997. The $3.2 billion Cassini-Huygens mission was also identified to be a cooperative collaboration between NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.
Meanwhile, other raw images of Saturn’s Atlas moon could be viewed here.
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