24 Years Ago In Time

Now 2.2 billion miles away from Earth, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is bearing down on SATURN. Much of our knowledge of that planet dates from Voyager 1's close encounter in 1980, which TIME chronicled in a cover story.

After only the most cursory study of Voyager's flood of data, scientists were staggered by a succession of discoveries. Many involved Saturn's rings, which until the recent finding of similar features around Uranus and Jupiter were thought to be unique. Before Voyager's visit only six Saturnian rings and a few gaps between them were known. Now there seem to be 1,000 rings or...

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