This is what Earth looks like from Saturn

Cassini Saturn Mission

Cassini Saturn Mission

The stunning image was taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on April 12 and reveals what Earth looks like from space.

Early Saturday, Cassini will swing past Saturn's mega moon Titan.

Mission scientists know that as Cassini passes through the 1,500-mile-wide gap, it could collide with the rocks that make up the rings.

The spacecraft was launched in 1997 and it reached Saturn in 2004, orbiting the giant planet since then.

NASA said: "While it's always sad when a mission comes to an end, Cassini's finale plunge is a truly spectacular end for one of the most scientifically rich voyages yet undertaken in our solar system".

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Data from the spacecraft will be beamed back in real time to scientists of Earth as it dives 22 times on its descent - finally ending on September 15.

We have to enjoy these new Cassini images while we can.

The ring crossings will provide wild, closeup imagery of Saturn's clouds and rings from never-before-seen angles.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.

Another option would be to guide the probe further out into space, but Nasa believes sending it to its destruction will yield far more scientific discoveries.

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Cassini's particle detectors will sample icy ring particles being funneled into the atmosphere by Saturn's magnetic field. The spacecraft will examine the lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons in the northern polar region of Titan. It doesn't want to shower contaminating wreckage onto these worlds that might harbor life. That information will help scientists learn how the rings formed. Space compels us because it forces us to think outside this myopic view of ourselves - not in a "Dust in the Wind" way, but in the sense that we're tiny flecks of star stuff lucky to be members of something so vast and incredible.

Cassini will have the best views ever of Saturn's poles, as it skims its surface.

"This is truly an exciting time for us to probe those [ocean worlds]", Green said. Near mission's end, Spilker said, "we're actually going to dip our toe" into Saturn's atmosphere, sending back measurements until the last possible moment.

Before that, however, it will undertake its most risky manoeuvres yet - diving 22 times inside the planet's rings.

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