The Nasa Cassini satellite has finalised its four year mission to Saturn for some time now (it was scheduled to end in June 2008). It is still working though and is now working on a mission called Equinox which aims to explore questions from the first years of the mission. This part of the mission is bringing back stunning photography from of Saturn and its moons:
Cassini will observe seasonal changes brought by the changing sun angle on Saturn, the rings and moons, which were illuminated from the south during the mission’s first four years. Many repeat visits are planned for Cassini at the moons Titan and Enceladus – both important targets of the Equinox Mission. Enceladus Small, icy Enceladus is of great scientific interest because it is surprisingly active. Cassini discovered an icy plume shooting from this moon , and subsequent observations have revealed the spray contains complex organic chemicals. A major discovery has been that water ice jets from Enceladus play a major role in Saturn’s magnetosphere. Water from the jets loads up the magnetosphere, influencing radio and auroral activity, and even causing changes in the rotation of the magnetic field itself. The Equinox mission will study these phenomena in unexplored areas of the magnetosphere and probe the links to Enceladus in addition to connections with other moons.
Here are a few images from the project and a small booklet with a larger selection.