Sci-Tech

Saturn moon's crazy plume stars in last look from Cassini

Saturn's moon Enceladus shows off its icy plume one last time in a NASA movie created from Cassini spacecraft images.

Cassini sees the plume from Enceladus one last time.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will destroy itself in Saturn's atmosphere on Friday, but it already got one last fabulous look at the ringed planet's moon Enceladus and the wild vapor plume spewing out from it. 

On Friday, NASA released a movie sequence taken by Cassini on Aug. 28. The resulting GIF covers 14 hours and shows the moon's surface lit up at first and then fading into darkness. The plume emanates from below.

Cassini took a dive through the mysterious plume in 2015 so scientists could learn more about the phenomenon. The plume is made up of water vapor and ice fed by a subsurface ocean. NASA describes Enceladus as "a promising lead in our search for worlds where life could exist."

Cassini launched back in 1997 and is scheduled to plunge into Saturn's atmosphere later this week, marking the end of its epic mission spent studying Saturn, its rings and its many satellites. The spacecraft will continue to send back data and images up until its final moments.