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Google marks the Cassini Spacecraft's final Saturn mission with new Doodle

By Wade Sheridan
Google marks the Cassini Spacecraft's final Saturn mission with new Doodle
Google is paying homage to the Cassini Spacecraft and its final exploration of Saturn with a new Doodle. Photo courtesy of Google

April 26 (UPI) -- Google is highlighting the Cassini Spacecraft's final dive between Saturn and its rings with a new Doodle.

Google's homepage features an animated short in which the Cassini is seen snapping as many photos of possible as it passes by a smiling Saturn. Its journey ends with the spacecraft taking a selfie.

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"Saturn, get ready for your close-up!" Google writes. "Today the Cassini spacecraft starts a series of swoops between Saturn and its rings. These cosmic acrobatics are part of Cassini's dramatic 'Grand Finale,' a set of orbits offering Earthlings an unprecedented look at the second largest planet in our solar system."

"By plunging into this fascinating frontier, Cassini will help scientists learn more about the origins, mass, and age of Saturn's rings, as well as the mysteries of the gas giant's interior," Google continues. "Cassini recently revealed some secrets of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus -- including conditions friendly to life!"

"Who knows what marvels this hardy explorer will uncover in the final chapter of its mission?"

Cassini is a joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency or ESA and the Italian space agency or ASI. The spacecraft was launched in 1997 when it began its 2.2 billion mile journey and has been orbiting around Saturn since 2004.

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The mission will be Cassini's last as it will crash through the planet's atmosphere later this year.

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