Ivan Ivanovich-Unsung Space “Hero”

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I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture”That looks like a dummy” and you would be right because  Ivan Ivanovich was a dummy. Weeks before Yuri Gagarin made a successful orbit of the Earth, a Soviet mannequin named Ivan Ivanovich (the Russian equivalent of John Doe) tested the dangers of spaceflight and reentry.

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Ivan Ivanovich’s first space exploration was on Korabl-Sputnik 4 on 9 March 1961, accompanied by a dog named Chernushka, various reptiles, and 80 mice and guinea pigs, some of which were placed inside his body.

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Ivan was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. Chernushka was recovered unharmed inside the capsule.

To test the spacecraft’s communication systems, an automatic recording of a choir was placed in Ivanovich’s body – this way, any radio stations who heard the recording would understand it was not a real person. Ivan was also used to test the landing system upon return to Earth, when he was successfully ejected from the capsule and parachuted to the ground.

Because no human being had ever been to space, the test dummy was designed to test as many unknowns as possible on a real human form. And because the Korabl-Sputnik capsule he traveled on wasn’t designed to make a soft landing, Ivan’s trip tested a human passenger’s ability to bail from the capsule during descent and parachute safely to ground.

Ivan’s  second space exploration was aboard the , Korabl-Sputnik 5,  March 26 1961, was similar – he was again accompanied by a dog, Zvyozdochka, and other animals, he had a recording of a choir and also a recipe for cabbage soup to confuse any listeners inside him, and he safely returned to Earth.Ivan_ivanowich

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Source

Smithsonian

 

 

 

 

 

Who needs the Moon anyway- when the US wanted to nuke the Moon.

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Project A119 was the designated name by the US Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.

The project was called “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” aka ” Project A119 and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s.

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The aim was to intimidate the Soviet Union, who at that time were winning the space race, by seeing the nuclear flash from Earth.

The explosion would of course be best on the dark side of the moon for the best possible effect.

One of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, figured  hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of approximately two miles.  The accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.

The Soviet Union had successfully launched the Sputnik 1 on October 4th 1957, and the US was in need of some morale boost.

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Project A119 was cancelled though in 1959, for fears that a failed explosion on the moon might have might have adverse effects on Earth.

Thankfully the used a different approach by sending the first man to moon , a decade later,

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Explorer 1

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Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.

Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.

Explorer 1 was given Satellite Catalog Number 4, and the Harvard designation 1958 Alpha 1,the forerunner to the modern International Designator.

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The first two jolts came courtesy of the Soviet Union, which launched the first-ever artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and followed that up a month later by lofting a dog named Laika to orbit, aboard the Sputnik 2 craft.

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The United States tried to answer on Dec. 6, 1957, with a satellite launch of its own. But the rocket carrying the nation’s first would-be spacecraft, the 3.5-lb. (1.6 kilograms) Vanguard Test Vehicle 3, burst into flames shortly after liftoff, live on national TV.

But the 30.7-lb. (13.9 kg) Explorer 1 was not just a space-race publicity stunt; the satellite performed groundbreaking science work as it orbited Earth. It spotted fewer high-energy cosmic rays than expected, leading Explorer 1 principal investigator James Van Allen to suggest that the satellite’s detector had been overwhelmed by charged particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field. [Space Race: Could the U.S. Have Beaten the Soviets into Space?]

Van Allen was right. The Explorer 3 spacecraft, which launched on March 26, 1958, confirmed the existence of these bands of radiation, which are now known as the Van Allen belts. (Explorer 2 had launched three weeks earlier but failed to reach orbit because of a rocket malfunction.)

The satellite was designed and built by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Today, JPL is one of NASA’s flagship centers, but NASA didn’t even exist when Explorer 1 lifted off; the space agency was officially established six months later, on July 29, 1958, and began operations on Oct. 1 of that year.

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Challenger 28 January 1986

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It’s hard to believe that it has already been 33 years  ago since the Challenger disaster happened. I still remember it as if it was yesterday.

One thing that I hadn’t thought of was that there was a group of children watching while their Teacher died. Looking back it make sense of course that the pupils of Christa McAuliffe would watch the launch of the Space shuttle since their teacher was on board.

37-year-old Christa McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire. She was selected as a civilian and NASA’s first educator in space through the Teacher in Space Project, designed to generate publicity and inspire kids to reach for the stars. She was even going to teach a few lessons while in space.

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At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger‘s launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

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The mission, dubbed Challenger’s STS-51L, marked pilot Mike Smith’s first spaceflight. Just before NASA lost telemetric contact with the shuttle, the crew’s voice recorder captured Smith saying “Uh-oh,” which proves that at least one member of the crew was aware something was going wrong with the launch before the actual explosion.

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Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa’s family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

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  • Francis R. Scobee, Commander
  • Michael J. Smith, Pilot
  • Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
  • Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
  • Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
  • Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
  • Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher

May they rest in peace and may their souls be like stars shining at night.Challenger_flight_51-l_crew

 

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The space flight that didn’t happen- The forgotten story of Apollo 1

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On January 27 1967, U.S. astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a launch simulation at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo program changed forever , when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best efforts of the ground crew. It would take more than 18 months, and extensive redesigns, before NASA sent more men into space.

The launch simulation on January 27, 1967, on pad 34, was a “plugs-out” test to determine whether the spacecraft would operate nominally on (simulated) internal power while detached from all cables and umbilicals.

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Passing this test was essential to making the February 21 launch date. The test was considered non-hazardous because neither the launch vehicle nor the spacecraft was loaded with fuel or cryogenics, and all pyrotechnic systems (explosive bolts) were disabled

At 1:00 pm EST (1800 GMT) on January 27, first Grissom, then Chaffee, and White entered the Command Module fully pressure-suited, and were strapped into their seats and hooked up to the spacecraft’s oxygen and communication systems. Grissom immediately noticed a strange odor in the air circulating through his suit which he compared to “sour buttermilk”, and the simulated countdown was held at 1:20 pm, while air samples were taken. No cause of the odor could be found, and the countdown was resumed at 2:42 pm. The accident investigation found this odor not to be related to the fire.

Three minutes after the count was resumed, the hatch installation was started. The hatch consisted of three parts: a removable inner hatch, which stayed inside the cabin; a hinged outer hatch, which was part of the spacecraft’s heat shield; and an outer hatch cover, which was part of the boost protective cover enveloping the entire Command Module to protect it from aerodynamic heating during launch, and from launch escape rocket exhaust in the event of a launch abort. The boost hatch cover was partially, but not fully, latched in place because the flexible boost protective cover was slightly distorted by some cabling run under it to provide the simulated internal power. (The spacecraft’s fuel cell reactants were not loaded for this test.) After the hatches were sealed, the air in the cabin was replaced with pure oxygen at 16.7 psi (115 kPa), 2 psi (14 kPa) higher than atmospheric pressure.

The Apollo 1 crew commander, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. He was chosen was among NASA’s first group of seven astronauts, the Mercury Seven. Grissom was America’s second person in space in 1961. On that mission, Mercury’s Liberty Bell 7, the hatch door blew for unknown reasons upon splashdown. Grissom ended up in the water and was rescued by a helicopter (which at first tried, in vain, to pick up the spacecraft; the spacecraft was later pulled from the ocean floor in 1999).

Some in the Astronaut Office were skeptical that Grissom’s reputation would recover (many believed Grissom blew the hatch; he swore he didn’t). However, Grissom successfully commanded the first Gemini flight, Gemini 3, and was selected to do the same for Apollo.

Fellow spaceflight veteran Ed White, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, was the first American to make a spacewalk, on Gemini 4 in 1965. The images of him soaring in space for 23 minutes are still frequently seen today; it is considered one of history’s most memorable spacewalks.

Roger Chaffee was a seasoned Navy lieutenant commander who joined the program in 1963. Although a rookie in space, he had spent years supporting the Gemini program, most publicly as CapCom on Gemini 4. Now getting a chance to fly after five years in the program, he said, “I think it will be a lot of fun.”

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Every astronaut in the Apollo program had flight experience, and many were test pilots. They were used to seeing machines under development and dealing with delays, and assessing the airplanes’ readiness for flight. In the view of many of these astronauts, the Apollo command module just wasn’t ready yet. Engineering changes were still in progress as NASA prepared for the countdown test.

On his last visit home in Texas, Jan. 22, 1967, Grissom grabbed a lemon off a citrus tree in the backyard. His wife, Betty, asked what he was going to do with it. “I’m going to hang it on that spacecraft,” he answered as he kissed her goodbye. He hung it on the flight simulator after he arrived at the Cape.

The morning of the test, the crew suited up and detected a foul odor in the breathing oxygen, which took about an hour to fix. Then the communications system acted up. Shouting through the noise, Grissom vented: “How are we going to get to the moon if we can’t talk between two or three buildings?”

With communications problems dragging on, the practice countdown was held. Then at 6:31 p.m. came a frightening word from the spacecraft: “Fire.”

Deke Slayton, who oversaw crew selections at NASA and was present for the test, could see white flames in a closed-circuit television monitor pointing toward the spacecraft. The crew struggled to get out. Technicians raced to the scene, trying to fight the fire with extinguishers amid faulty breathing masks. [Video: Apollo 1 Remembered – Report from the Archives]

At last, the door was open, but it was too late.

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The Space Shuttle-Well kind of

Building of the Soviet Buran spacecraft, 1982

During the Cold War, the USSR built a look-alike space shuttle to compete with the U.S. program.

The development of the “Buran” began in the early 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Soviet officials were concerned about a perceived military threat posed by the U.S. Space Shuttle.

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In their opinion, the Shuttle’s 30-ton payload-to-orbit capacity and, more significantly, its 15-ton payload return capacity, were a clear indication that one of its main objectives would be to place massive experimental laser weapons into orbit that could destroy enemy missiles from a distance of several thousands of kilometers. Their reasoning was that such weapons could only be effectively tested in actual space conditions and that to cut their development time and save costs it would be necessary to regularly bring them back to Earth for modifications and fine-tuning.[7] Soviet officials were also concerned that the U.S. Space Shuttle could make a sudden dive into the atmosphere to drop bombs on Moscow.

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The construction of the Buran-class space shuttle orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale orbiter was rolled out. Construction of a second orbiter (OK-1K2, informally known as Ptichka) started in 1988. The Buran programme ended in 1993.

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The first launch attempt on October 29, 1988, ended with a mechanical failure; a platform next to the rocket took so long to retract that the rocket’s computer cancelled the countdown.

The only orbital launch of a Buran-class orbiter occurred at 03:00:02 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 110/37.Buran wasBuran lifted into space, on an unmanned mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU  engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.

After making an automated approach to Site 251 (known as Yubileyniy Airfield), Buran touched down under its own control at 06:24:42 UTC and came to a stop at 06:25:24, 206 minutes after launch.

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an unmanned second flight by 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days. Although the Buran programme was never officially cancelled, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to funding drying up and this never took place.

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The first picture from Space- to boldly go where we already are.

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On Oct. 24, 1946, the first extraterrestrial view of Earth was shot from 65 miles away aboard a Nazi-built V-2 rocket launched by American scientists, according to Smithsonian magazine. Thanks to a Devry 35-millimeter movie camera, Earthlings saw their planet for the first time as a grainy, black-and-white mass that looked more like paint under a microscope than humanity’s home for at least the last 200,000 years.

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The grainy, black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. Snapping a new frame every second and a half, the rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth minutes later, slamming into the ground at 500 feet per second. The camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed.

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Apollo 13-Phew, we made it.

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There is a great message to be got from Apollo 13. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

It is one to thing to break down with your car in the middle of nowhere, but to break down in Space, how to you deal with that?

Well the men on the Apollo 13 dealt with it by staying calm and not giving up hope.I am not a superstitious man but did the number 13 really have an impact here? Of course it didn’t but one can’t help but wonder.

Below are just some images of that infamous space journey.

Apollo 13 launches from Kennedy Space Center, April 11, 1970

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Mission Operations Control Room during Apollo 13’s fourth television transmission, on the evening of April 13, 1970. Astronaut Fred Haise, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot, is seen on the screen.

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Apollo 13 astronauts wave aboard an aircraft carrier after splashdown in the Pacific, April 17, 1970.

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A landing that almost didn’t happen: Marilyn Lovell, wife of astronaut JIm Lovell, holds a cigarette as she speaks with her children, Houston, Texas, April, 1970. The Apollo 13 crew was forced to abort their lunar landing after an on-board explosion, but made it home safe on May 18.

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Apollo 13 Command Module lands in the south Pacific Ocean, April 17, 1970.

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Mission Control celebrates the successful splashdown of Apollo 13. I wonder is that where the expression “give the man a cigar” comes from.

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The Apollo 13 crew talking with President Nixon on April 17, 1970

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V2: weapon of mass destruction and first space flight.

18lfb2ho649utjpgOn this day 75 years ago the  first V-2 missile was fired successfully from Peenemunde, heralding the start of space travel.

German scientists, led by von Braun, had been working on the development of these long-range missiles since the 1930s.

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Three trial launches had already failed; the fourth in the series, known as A-4, finally saw the V-2, a 12-ton rocket capable of carrying a one-ton warhead, successfully launched.

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Test Stand VII  was the principal V-2 rocket testing facility at Peenemünde Airfield and was capable of static firing of rocket motors up to 200 tons thrust.

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Two test launches were recovered by the Allies: the Bäckebo rocket, the remnants of which landed in Sweden on 13 June 1944 and one recovered by the Polish resistance on 30 May 1944 from Blizna and transported to the UK during Operation Most III. The highest altitude reached during the war was 174.6 kilometres (108.5 miles) (20 June 1944).Test launches of V-2 rockets were made at Peenemünde, Blizna and Tuchola Forest, and after the war, at Cuxhaven by the British, White Sands Proving Grounds and Cape Canaveral by the U.S., and Kapustin Yar by the USSR.

The Soviet Army was about 160 km (99 mi) from Peenemünde in the spring of 1945 when von Braun assembled his planning staff and asked them to decide how and to whom they should surrender. Unwilling to go to the Soviets, von Braun and his staff decided to try to surrender to the Americans.

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The American high command was well aware of how important their catch was: von Braun had been at the top of the Black List, the code name for the list of German scientists and engineers targeted for immediate interrogation by U.S. military experts.

On June 20, 1945, the U.S. Secretary of State approved the transfer of von Braun and his specialists to America; however, this was not announced to the public until October 1, 1945. Von Braun was among those scientists for whom the U.S. Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency created false employment histories and expunged NSDAP memberships and regime affiliations from the public record. Once “bleached” of their Nazism, the U.S. Government granted the scientists security clearance to work in the United States.

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The first seven technicians arrived in the United States at New Castle Army Air Field, just south of Wilmington, Delaware, on September 20, 1945. They were then flown to Boston and taken by boat to the Army Intelligence Service post at Fort Strong in Boston Harbor. Later, with the exception of von Braun, the men were transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to sort out the Peenemünde documents, enabling the scientists to continue their rocketry experiments.

(The first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946)

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Finally, von Braun and his remaining Peenemünde staff (see List of German rocket scientists in the United States) were transferred to their new home at Fort Bliss, a large Army installation just north of El Paso.

 

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Cassini & Saturn

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I do consider myself to be a “word artist” but the images that Cassini send back to this little blue planet. the 3rd rock from the sun. have left me speechless.

Although in the media it is called Cassini the actual name of the spacecraft is ,’Cassini-Huygens’, named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.

It was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites.

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The mission ended this day 2 weeks ago. Signal was lost at 7:55:46 AM EDT on September 15, 2017.

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But without further ado below some of the breathtaking images by Cassini. I hope they will leave you in awe.

Half an hour after the tiny moon Prometheus tore into this region of Saturn’s F ring, the Cassini spacecraft snapped this image just as the moon was creating a new streamer in the ring

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Saturn’s moon, Atlas, imaged on April 12, 2017

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Approaching the moon Dione, with Saturn in the background, on October 11, 2005

Approaching Dione on Oct. 11, 2005. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A true color image of Titan’s colorful south polar vortex captured before a distant flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan on June 27, 2012.

A true color image of Titan's colorful south polar vortex captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as the Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn’s rings on January 16, 2017. Daphnis (5 miles across) orbits within the 26-mile wide Keeler Gap.

Saturn And Its Rings

This natural color image shows Titan’s upper atmosphere–an active place where methane molecules are being broken apart by solar ultraviolet light and the byproducts combine to form compounds like ethane and acetylene. The haze preferentially scatters blue and ultraviolet wavelengths of light, making its complex layered structure more easily visible at the shorter wavelengths used in this image. Imaged at a distance of approximately 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles) from Titan on March 31, 2005.

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Rhea before Titan. Saturn’s moons Rhea and Titan overlap in this image made on June 11, 2006. Titan is lit from behind, illuminating its hazy atmosphere, with Rhea blocking some of that from Cassini’s view. Is it only me or does remind anyone else of Dart Vader?

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Roiling storm clouds and a swirling vortex at the center of Saturn’s famed north polar hexagon, in an image from NASA’s Cassini mission taken on November 27, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Saturn from approximately 224,618 miles (361,488 kilometers) away

Storm clouds and a swirling vortex at the center of Saturn's north polar hexagon is seen in an image from NASA's Cassini mission

A swing high above Saturn by the Cassini spacecraft revealed this stately view of the golden-hued planet and its main rings. The view is in natural color, as human eyes would have seen it. This mosaic was made from 36 images in three color filters obtained by Cassini’s imaging science subsystem on October 10, 2013.

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Northern hemisphere storm in 2011

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RIP Cassini

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