Cassini Completes 20-Year Mission With Plunge Into Saturn

NASA graphic

The confirmation of NASA's Cassini's death came around 7:55 AM EDT when the radio signals from the spacecraft went flat and the probe fell silent.

"There are worldwide treaties that require that we can't just leave a derelict spacecraft in orbit around a planet like Saturn, which has prebiotic moons", said Maize. It unveiled moonlets embedded in the rings.

No spacecraft has ever ventured so close to the planet before.

In its final moments, Cassini used the last of its fuel to fight against Saturn's atmosphere in an effort to keep its antenna pointed toward Earth for as long as possible.

Three other spacecraft have flown by Saturn - Pioneer 11 in 1979, followed by Voyager 1 and 2 in the 1980s. In 1997 #NASA launched the #Cassini Huygens Probe to get a close-up look at the planet #Saturn. The spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004.

A lander called Huygens piggybacked aboard the Cassini mothership, eventually touching down on Titan's frigid, otherworldly surface in January 2005.

The spacecraft Cassini is pictured above Saturn's northern hemisphere prior to making one of its Grand Finale dives in this NASA handout illustration obtained by Reuters on August 29.

Over its last 13 years in orbit, spacecraft Cassini has had an fantastic run exploring and studying Saturn and its moons.

"This will ensure that Cassini can not contaminate any future studies of habitability and potential life on those moons".

The spacecraft was nudged into position by Titan's gravity on Monday for its Grand Finale.

According to NASA estimates, Cassini has already crossed the orbital distance of the F ring - outermost of Saturn's main rings - for the last time.

Twenty-two times, Cassini entered the gap and came out again.

They also shared this movie of Enceladus setting behind Saturn. Or perhaps multiple such collisions occurred. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Saturn's rings.

MOONS: Saturn has 62 known moons, including six discovered by Cassini.

"So we actually know a great deal about what the inside of Enceladus is made of because we are able to analyse the dust probes". Titan is mostly made up of methane lakes, while Encleadus has water streaming in the south pole. "For 13 years we have been running a marathon of scientific discovery, and we are on the last lap", she said early Friday.

Enceladus, an icy moon, is believed to have vast, potentially warm oceans beneath the surface with evidence suggesting numerous building blocks necessary for life may also exist.

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