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The Cassini spacecraft, which recently made the first journey through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings, is back in contact with Earth.

But the trip was dangerous: During its ring-plane crossing, the spaceship had to use its large, dish-shaped antenna as a shield, losing contact with Earth during that time, according to NASA.

“No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn’s other rings, of what we thought this gap between the rings and Saturn would be like,” Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize said Thursday, according to NASA. “I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape.”

Now safely back in contact, Cassini is sending new images of Saturn to Earth from space. NASA has since shared some of the raw photos with the public.

The trip took a little over an hour to complete.


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