It's Back! Cassini Flies By

Closing in at 42,500 m.p.h., one of the largest and most complex spacecraft ever built will pass only 725 miles from Earth early next week on its way to a 2004 rendezvous with Saturn, its spectacular rings and its giant moon, Titan. The ship is Cassini, and while it's an object of pride for space scientists, it's an object of fear for antinuclear activists.

Weighing in at around six tons at its launch in October 1997, Cassini lacked the rocket power to fly directly out to Saturn, which is on average 800 million miles from Earth. Instead it headed inward, swooping...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!