NASA recently unveiled some amazing pictures of Saturn, taken by space probe Cassini, which has been circling the ringed-planet for the last five years.
Though Cassini, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, was launched in October 1997, it didn't reach its destination until June, 2004. Along the way, it sent equally stunning pictures of the Earth, Mars and Jupiter.
Cassini's initial four-year mission, scheduled to end in 2008, was to provide a detailed study of the planet and its rings and satellites. The mission was such a great success that NASA extended it to September 2010, in order to continue studying the Planet and also observe the Equinox in August 2009, when sunlight will pass directly through the plane of its rings.
With additional startling discoveries being made all the time, NASA scientists are now pushing for yet another extension - this time all the way to 2017. Doing this will provide them data that will span a total of 13 years, or about half the time it takes the ringed planet to orbit the Sun.
This will help the researchers to study the effects of the seasonal changes on Saturn, its rings and two moons, Titan and Enceladus.
If NASA does extend the mission, we can be assured of another seven years of amazing pictures from this robotic space probe - the genius work of NASA scientists!