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Scientists Awed by Pictures of Saturn's Rings - 2004-07-02


The U.S. space agency says pictures of Saturn's rings taken by the the U.S.-European Cassini spacecraft are the best, most detailed images ever seen of the luminous formations of ice and rock.

NASA officials say the spacecraft, now in orbit around Saturn, has sent back scores of extremely detailed pictures of the planet's rings, which are far larger than Earth itself. Scientists at the mission's headquarters in California say the images are "mind-boggling."

Since blasting off from Earth seven years ago, the space probe has traveled 3.5 billion kilometers to reach Saturn, and it will now spend the next four years studying the second largest planet in our solar system. Cassini will orbit eight of Saturn's 31 moons, studying in particular Titan, believed to be the moon that most resembles Earth.

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