NASA's Cassini spacecraft peers over the shoulder and through the rings of the second-largest planet in our solar system, Saturn. In the distance, Venus appears as a small, white dot.
The Cassini-Huygens mission -- which has been on location in the Saturnian system since 2004 -- is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. It is charged with 27 diverse science investigations.
The Saturnian system is large. The main ring system would barely fit in the space between Earth and the Moon. There are 31 moons -- 13 of which were discovered after Cassini launched. There's a lot for Cassini to see, including a variety of chemical, geologic, and atmospheric processes like suspected water ice, cryovolcanoes, and atmospheres rich in organic material.
In many ways, with its diversity and scale, Saturn could be considered the equivalent of a miniature solar system, scientists say.