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In this undated photo provided by NASA, Saturn's icy moon Mimas is dwarfed by the planet's enormous rings. Consider it a cosmic carousel with countless rings up for grabs. NASA’s Saturn-orbiting spacecraft, Cassini, has begun an unprecedented mission to skim the planet’s rings. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, Cassini got a gravitational assist from Saturn’s big moon Titan. That put the spacecraft on course to graze Saturn’s main outer rings. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via AP)

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured close-up photos of Saturn's rings

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NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured new close-up photographs of Saturn's rings.

The Cassini spacecraft is in its "Ring-Grazing" orbit phase as it captures NASA's closest images yet of the outer parts of Saturn's main rings. The spacecraft will continue to take photos of Saturn's moons before it burns up in the planet's atmosphere later this year, USA Today reports. 

How fitting it is that we should go out with the best views of Saturn's rings we've ever collected.
Carolyn Porco, Space Scientist Institute

Cassini was launched in 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004. It has made numerous discoveries on Saturn's rings and moons, including an ocean with indications of hydrothermal activity on its moon, Enceladus, and liquid methane seas on another moon, Titan.

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

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