The international Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan already has returned some initial results which will help to re-write science textbooks, as well as some astounding images. The spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 30 June following a successful 96-minute engine burn as the spacecraft flew between the planet's F and G rings.

Robert Mitchell, the Cassini program manager with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the spacecraft could have been damaged if it had been hit by a grain of dust the size of a pea while crossing through the ring plane. Prior to the burn, he said flight controllers would “chew their nails” in nervousness as they awaited indication that the Saturn orbit insertion was successful. Mitchell added that the spacecraft did not fly through the rings due to any sort of scientific preference, but rather that the fly-by was “a combination of getting close enough to make the propellant cost one we could afford, and still be in a region as safe as we could make it.”