The Cassini spacecraft’s decade-long exploration around Saturn and its satellites has yielded a stunning collection of photos and tons of other discoveries. But before the probe ends its mission by crashing into the planet’s atmosphere, the Cassini will first cross into the region between the gaseous giant and its famed rings to tell us more about them.
Cassini’s “Grand Finale” is the subject of Wednesday’s Google doodle, available on the search engine’s homepage globally. The maneuver will hopefully yield “detailed maps of Saturn’s gravity and magnetic fields,” help scientists understand the origins and makeup of the rings, and allow the probe to take “ultra-close images of Saturn’s rings and clouds,” according to NASA.
In the animated doodle, the Cassini, personified as a playful triangular interstellar photographer, sneaks a selfie before swooping in between Saturn and its rings to take as many snaps as it can.
“Who knows what marvels this hardy explorer will uncover in the final chapter of its mission?” asks Google.