Friday, September 15, 2017

CASSINI SAYS GOODBYE AFTER 13 YEARS ORBITING SATURN

 As of 7:55 a.m. EDT (11:55 GMT), NASA's Cassini spacecraft will have lost contact with Earth, harrowing in the end of an epic 13-year mission around Saturn. While at the ringed planet, Cassini captured the hearts of many with its images and important data of the planet's rings and its moons including Titan and Enceladus).
 Cassini's final chapter started with its last Titan flyby on Monday (Sept 11) which allowed it to gain enough momentum to send it heading towards Saturn. Yesterday was the last time Cassini captured photos of the planet, photographing Saturn's rings, Titan and Enceladus.
 Cassini was sent into Saturn's atmosphere to burn up to ensure that the probe would not contaminate the moons Titan and Enceladus - both of which may be capable of supporting life - with microbes from Earth. The spacecraft was nearly out of fuel, so mission managers wanted to dispose of Cassini while they still had control over it.
 "We'll be saddened — there's no doubt about it — at the loss of such an incredible machine," Earl Maize, the Cassini program manager, said during a news conference Wednesday (Sept. 13). "But I think all of us [on the Cassini team] have a great sense of pride … We set out to do something at Saturn, we did it [and] we did it extremely well."
Read more about this fascinating story at: https://www.space.com/38160-when-how-watch-cassini-saturn-dive.html
Image: Artist's rendition of Cassini plunging through Saturn's atmosphere

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