Cassini spacecraft crashes into Saturn ending 20-year flight around space

Richard Wilson

Cassini actually burned up like a meteor 83 minutes earlier, as it dove through Saturn's atmosphere, becoming one with the planet it set out in 1997 to explore. But there are proposals to go back, submitted under NASA's New Frontiers program.

Cassini revealed wet, exotic worlds that might harbor life: the moons Enceladus and Titan.

Enceladus is particularly interesting to NASA because - like Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter - it conceals a global ocean of salty liquid water beneath its icy surface. But the agency didn't want to risk Cassini accidentally crashing into one of these moons and spreading around Earth microbes.

Cassini not only has greatly expanded humans' understanding of Saturn, but also its 62 moons, and the composition and features of the rings encircling the second-largest planet in the solar system.

The spacecraft tumbled out of control while plummeting at more than 122,000km/h.

Launched in 1997, it took nearly seven years to reach Saturn, entering orbit on July 1, 2004.

Cassini's engineers determined that the spacecraft would encounter so much aerodynamic stress during its 76,000-mph dive that it would break up and vaporize even before hitting Saturn's cloud tops. Enceladus plows along the orbit of the E Ring, Saturn's second-from-outermost ring, which reaches extremely far out into space, brushing up against the orbit of Titan.

Cassini project manager Earl Maize hugs Julie Webster, spacecraft operations team manager, at Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory just after the mission's end. "You walk around the downstairs, as you go upstairs, you run your fingers along the banister, you look at your old room and memories across the years come flooding back". When Cassini-Huygens launched we held our collective breath, until it was safely on its way.

"Earth received CassiniSaturn's final signal at 7:55 am ET".

Russian Federation fires cruise missiles at IS militants, equipment in Syria
The monitoring group said the US -led worldwide coalition, which is supporting non-government forces, was partly to blame. Since then, they have been battling remnants of the militants inside the city, seizing more than 60 percent of it.

"We're trying to find out exactly what is coming from the rings and what is due to the atmosphere", Hunter Waite, Cassini team lead for the mass spectrometer instrument and an atmospheric scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said at the September 13 news conference.

In 2005, the Cassini orbiter released a lander called Huygens on Titan, marking the first and only such landing in the outer solar system, on a celestial body beyond the asteroid belt.

Despite 13 years in Saturn's orbit, there are still many unanswered questions.

Earlier this month, NASA's Cassini probe embarked on a death spiral around Saturn's orbit.

Now, its final encounter with the ringed beauty, will be its demise.

The last unprocessed images of the Saturn system shared by NASA were taken by the Cassini spacecraft on Wednesday. "We've only scratched the surface of what we can learn from the mountain of data it has sent back over its lifetime".

With the loss of Cassini, the space around Saturn has gone dark.

Over the course of its long mission, Cassini's achievements were legion. She's the scientist in charge of Cassini's magnetometer, an instrument that measures Saturn's magnetic field. The spacecraft slammed headlong into Saturn's atmosphere just hours ago, putting a fiery exclamation point on what has been a truly historic mission. But it took that long for the last signal to arrive at Earth.

Related News:

  • Pakistan beat World XI in 3rd match to seal Independence Cup

    Pakistan beat World XI in 3rd match to seal Independence Cup

    On Friday, the World XI , chasing a target of 184, never got going as they could manage to score only 150/8 in their 20 overs. Pakistan will now play the series-decider third and final T-20 clash against World XI at the same venue tomorrow.
    Gulf Crisis: Arab League meeting turns into words showdown

    Gulf Crisis: Arab League meeting turns into words showdown

    The United Arab Emirates, one of the countries boycotting Doha, publicly criticized the move. Qatar has denied supporting extremism, saying the crisis is politically motivated.
    Iraq removes Kirkuk governor from office

    Iraq removes Kirkuk governor from office

    Kalin on Thursday said: "There will absolutely be consequences for this referendum decision", without elaborating further. Israel's leader on Wednesday said his country supports Kurdish independence ahead of a key referendum on the matter.
  • White House: Trump to visit Florida on Thursday

    White House: Trump to visit Florida on Thursday

    While in Naples, Trump will spend around an hour meeting with those impacted by Hurricane Irma, according to the administration. The president monitored the storm over the weekend from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.
    Are Analysts Bullish about Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT) after last week?

    Are Analysts Bullish about Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT) after last week?

    Beaufort Securities reaffirmed a "buy" rating on shares of United Utilities Group PLC in a research note on Friday, May 26th. The Company's producing royalties include Kestrel, Narrabri, Maracas Menchen, El Valle- Boinas/Carles (EVBC) and Four Mile.
    Samsung ups bet on self-driving cars

    Samsung ups bet on self-driving cars

    Rather than building a auto of its own, Samsung and Harmon plan to develop technologies that can be incorporated into vehicles from automakers.
  • Tillerson calls for an end to 'horrors' in Myanmar

    Tillerson calls for an end to 'horrors' in Myanmar

    Activists say more than 100 villagers, women and children among them, have been killed by security forces. And this is going to, in many ways, I think, define the direction that Burma will take.
    Watch Red Sparrow trailer: Jennifer Lawrence looks sharp, sensuous and solid

    Watch Red Sparrow trailer: Jennifer Lawrence looks sharp, sensuous and solid

    After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most unsafe Sparrow the program has ever produced. Her allegiance is tested, however, when she meets an American CIA agent, played by Joel Edgerton .
    Danica Patrick won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018

    Danica Patrick won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018

    She earned her way to race IndyCar and proved her worth with a win in Japan and a third-place finish in the Indianapolis 500. Thanks for the memories. "I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future".
  • JJ Abrams to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX

    JJ Abrams to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX

    According to Deadline , Disney and Lucasfilm previously approached Johnson about returning to direct Episode IX , but he declined. Abrams will direct " Star Wars: Episode IX " after parting ways with its first director, Colin Trevorrow .
    Apple reveals why Face ID failed during iPhone X demo

    Apple reveals why Face ID failed during iPhone X demo

    The iPhone X will start shipping to India from November 3 and we could only see whether the FaceID is all worth its hype or not. As people use the iPhone X in the coming months, there will be more definite answers to these questions.
    White House holds briefing as Trump meets with Democrats

    White House holds briefing as Trump meets with Democrats

    Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, Manchin says Trump will focus on tax cuts for the middle class. Many Republicans, including fiscal hawks, have been reluctant to embrace the idea of revenue neutrality.


Most liked

Stoke 2-2 Manchester United: Watch highlights from draw
Maybe it's because it has to be viewed as a negative result for him, coming to Stoke when everybody expected them to beat us. In an interview with the BBC , Mourinho said: "I prefer not to answer (the) question about handshakes".

Russia, Belarus launch joint military exercise amid tensions with West
However, NATO officials say the number of troops is much larger than Moscow has publicised, closer to 100,000. In addition, according to military analysts, Belarus acts as the ally of the aggressor country.

North Korean group demands U.S. be turned to 'ashes and darkness'
While the latest sanctions are not as tough as what the United States had sought, they are expected to have a significant impact. The UN resolution also barred countries from issuing new authorisations to North Korean workers sent overseas .