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Fact Check

AFP
July 10, 2019

Fact-check: Is this a photo of spacecraft captured by NASA?

Fact Check

AFP
Wed, Jul 10, 2019

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and various websites alongside a claim that it is the last photo NASA’s Cassini spacecraft sent to Earth before it entered Saturn’s atmosphere. The claim is misleading; the image is actually an artist’s illustration of the view from the Cassini spacecraft.

The image was published in a Facebook post on July 2, and it has been shared more than 1,000 times after being posted by a page with more than 356,000 followers.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

The post’s caption states: “Cassini's last image before entering Saturn's atmosphere. Credit: NASA/ESA”.

Cassini was a NASA spacecraft deployed in a joint mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency.

NASA announced the conclusion of Cassini’s mission in a press release published on September 15, 2017, which states, in part: “A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close today, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet.”

The same image has also been shared hundreds of times on Twitter alongside a similar claim.

It was also published on Polish social networking site Wykop and on a Japanese blog alongside a similar claim.

The image has also been shared on various websites alongside a similar claim.

The claim is misleading; the image is actually an artist’s illustration of the view from the Cassini spacecraft.

Reverse image searches on Google found the same image published on NASA’s website on April 6, 2017, more than five months before the spacecraft entered the atmosphere of Saturn.

The image caption states: “This artist’s concept shows an over-the-shoulder view of Cassini making one of its Grand Finale dives over Saturn.”

Below is a screenshot of the image on NASA’s website:

NASA published more information about Cassini’s last mission, dubbed the Grand Finale, on its website on September 26, 2018.

NASA also published Cassini’s final images here