CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – New, stunning photos of the rings around Saturn have been released by NASA.
The images, the closest view yet of the icy discs around the planet, came from the Cassini spacecraft which is in a ‘ring grazing phase’.
Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft reached Saturn in 2004.
NASA said the planet’s rings are about 30-feet thick and made almost completely of billions, maybe even trillions, of chunks of water ice, dust and rocks.
The spacecraft will embark on its final mission in April, plunging between the rings before disappearing and burning up in the planet’s atmosphere.
NASA scientists expect the best images of Saturn are yet to come.
During the course of its missions, Cassini has made numerous dramatic discoveries, including one moon with indications of a heated ocean and another moon, Titan, with a liquid methane sea.