Thousands of Images of Saturn Make For One Amazing Stop Motion Film

It took two decades of brilliant engineering to get the Cassini probe to Saturn, and the images this little ‘bot has sent back are the stuff of science fiction. But in the hands of filmmaker Fabio di Donato, they look more like a silent film from the 1920s.

Donato culled thousands of highlights from the 200,000 still images shot during Cassini’s travails across the galaxy to make this lovely stop motion animation, set to an appropriately bombastic Shostakovich waltz. The images were published publicly through the Planetary Data System, so anyone has access to them—Donato just took the initiative to make something of them. They show a period between 2004—when Cassini arrived near Saturn—and 2012.

It’s hard to believe some of these images weren’t shot on film set. The crater-marked asteroids, the crackling celestial lights—Cassini must be a Georges Méliès fan.