Cassini End of Mission Commentary

Cassini End of Mission Commentary

Cassini End of Mission Commentary

NASA's Cassini mission has begun transmitting data - including the final images taken by its imaging cameras - in advance of its final plunge into Saturn on Friday.

On Friday morning at about 7a.m. ET, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will send its final data on Saturn back to mission control, before burning up and plunging into the heart of the planet. That's because of the distance between Saturn and Earth, which spans almost a billion miles.

The spacecraft's fateful dive is the final beat in the mission's Grand Finale, 22 weekly dives, which began in late April, through the gap between Saturn and its rings.

SPACE scientists at Aberystwyth University are following the progress of the Cassini spacecraft as it nears the end of its 20-year mission to Saturn.

Nearly two decades after it took off from Earth, NASA scientists captured the final pieces of data from the Cassini spacecraft as it plummeted into Saturn on Friday morning.

Cassini took its last photo - a shot of the patch of atmosphere where it will meet its doom - at 12:58 p.m. PDT (3:58 p.m. EDT; 1958 GMT) Thursday (Sept. 14).

Spacecraft Operations Manager Julie Webster announced the loss of signal within a minute of the predicted demise.

The Cassini space orbiter is hours from oblivion as it hurtles toward Saturn's atmosphere, with scientists watching from Earth.

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During its time at Saturn, the probe has re-shaped our understanding of the ringed planet and its place in the solar system, sending back awesome photos and scientific data about the world's moons, rings, and environment.

NASA is killing its only Saturn probe because it discovered oceans which may harbor alien life on Enceladus and Titan - two of Saturn's largest moons.

When Cassini was launched in 1997, we knew of 18 Saturnian moons.

Even during Cassini's final moments, it will be beaming data back to Eart.

Today completed the last journey of the probe "Cassini". Some of the highlights include finding vertical structures on Saturn's rings, landing the Huygens probe on Titan, photographing Titan's surprisingly Earth-like frozen landscape, finding saline flats that show Titan could support life and finding water on the tiny moon Enceladus (for more, see our summary here).

The mission is deemed as one of the most successful space probes to date as the likes of Nasa gained unprecedented views and new information on Saturn.

During its mission, Cassini made numerous scientific discoveries and significantly changed the way we think about our solar system. It has sent back more than 450,000 images, and for quite some time these will be the last close-up images of Saturn we will have until another mission returns to the ringed planet.

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