Note: This post has been updated with new images sent back by Cassini, because HOLY COW!
Just before midnight Pacific time, the Deep Space Network (a group of telescopes that communicate with distant objects in space) picked up Cassini's far-off signal. A massive cheer went up at ground control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as data began streaming the billion miles back to Earth. Cassini had made it through the gap and emerged safely on the other side.
We did it! Cassini is in contact with Earth and sending back data after a successful dive through the gap between Saturn and its rings. pic.twitter.com/cej1yO7T6a— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) April 27, 2017
In September, the spacecraft's last dive will have it plummeting straight into Saturn itself, and the probe will be lost forever. But until then, Cassini's “grand finale” promises to deliver some incredible images and some fascinating science.
The raw images from the latest dive are being posted on NASA's website as they stream in. Here's some of what Cassini has seen: