Cassini's 13-Year Saturn Mission Ends With Grand Finale

Cassini has begun transmitting the final images of its mission revealing a last look at Saturn and its rings before the spacecraft plunges into the planet's atmosphere. This image was captured on September 13

Cassini has begun transmitting the final images of its mission revealing a last look at Saturn and its rings before the spacecraft plunges into the planet's atmosphere. This image was captured on September 13

"They traveled more than 2 billion miles through space, guided Cassini past worlds that shed light on the possibility of life beyond our planet, and served as a building block for next-generation thrusters being used on critical missions for government and commercial applications today". The radio waves went flat, and the spacecraft fell silent. "I hope you are all as deeply proud of this fantastic accomplishment", he told colleagues at mission control. Extremely well-earned hugs ensued. And you can watch it all live using the video above.

For a closer look at the Cassini mission read my other articles on Cassini's observations of numerous known moons of Saturn as well as the space probe's new discoveries, Cassini's search for the building blocks of life on Titan, and the beauty and mystery of Saturn's rings as revealed by Cassini. Some of that data could drop hints about the formation of the universe.

Titan is believed to be one of the most promising places in the solar system for finding life, and Cassini confirmed that it bears more than a passing resemblance to a colder version of early Earth.

Here are 11 of the best pictures ever to come out of anybody's trip overseas.

Linda Spilker is the project scientist, and she said that they enjoyed the 13-year journey around the Saturn.

But none have studied Saturn in such detail as Cassini, named after the French-Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who discovered in the 17th century that Saturn had several moons and a gap in between its rings. In that time, it discovered six more moons around Saturn, three-dimensional structures towering above Saturn's rings, and a giant storm that raged across the planet for almost a year.

National Geographic The icy rocky particles that make up Saturn's rings. Now a horde of scientists has descended upon Cassini's body of data, to scour it for any information they can get on the weird little moon with the unlikely cryovolcanos.

Having completed its final orbit around Titan on September 11, the craft has been heading back towards a collision course with Saturn.

If you want to really dive into the nuts and bolts of Cassini, NASA also has a super cool interactive feature that lets you explore the construction, instrumentation, and specific science objectives of Cassini and Huygens.

During this time shadows were seen dancing across the rings. The predicted altitude for loss of signal is about 1,500 kilometers above Saturn's cloud tops.

Towering structures cast shadows on Saturn's B ring. We even got to skim the majestic megastructure of Saturn's rings for the first time.

Cassini's magnetometer has already made some unexpected discoveries. The second-largest planet in our solar system, after Jupiter, Saturn is a soccer ball if Earth is a nickel. The spectrometer could determine what material is from the rings and what material is part of the atmosphere.

But this was a rarity in space adventures: a mission to a planet where the moons were the stars.

And then there is Enceladus, a Saturnian moon a mere 500km wide. The European Huygens landed on big moon Titan in 2005.

A false-color image shows the spinning vortex of Saturn's north polar storm, November 2012. At 12: 31 am, Paris time, the space probe will penetrate into the higher spheres of Saturn, the planet around which it has turned for thirteen years. Saturn is a giant sphere of gas squeezed at the poles by its rotation.

Recommended News

  • Three things to know about the Census' big earnings report out today

    Three things to know about the Census' big earnings report out today

    At that time, there was a jump of 3.2 percent in median income for those answering the new questions. In 2016, he went to a temp agency in Phoenix and landed a job that paid $18 an hour.
    Oil Prices Rise On Huge Draw In Gasoline Stocks

    Oil Prices Rise On Huge Draw In Gasoline Stocks

    USA crude futures CLc1 added to gains late in the session, boosted by expectations of a steady rebound in refining capacity. This week, Saudi Arabia's discussions about lengthening the deal past March have supported oil prices .
    Emergency Teams Uncover Devastation On Florida Keys

    Emergency Teams Uncover Devastation On Florida Keys

    Irma hit South Florida on Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour , according to the National Hurricane Center . Joseph Ossman, who had been with the Florida Department of Corrections for 21 years, both died in an early morning head-on crash.
  • How To Watch Liverpool's Return to the Champions League in the US

    How To Watch Liverpool's Return to the Champions League in the US

    "However, the European nights are back at Liverpool without the strain of the play-offs so the magic back should be back". Daniel Sturridge scored a superb goal to break the deadlock in the showpiece before Sevilla struck back.
    Nadal has 2-set lead in US Open final

    Nadal has 2-set lead in US Open final

    At 3-all, 30-all, Anderson double-faulted to offer up Nadal's fifth break point of the match, then badly pushed a forehand wide. Carlos Moya is confident Rafael Nadal can continue to challenge for grand slams despite his advancing years.

    Tarik Cohen shines in debut

    The most encouraging thing about the Falcons on offense had to be Matt Ryan who hasn't slowed down a bit from his MVP run. That's what we expected. "It's a done deal, and we've got to look forward to Tampa". "That's what this week will be".
  • Jurgen Klopp explains Sevilla row and why it's now forgotten

    Jurgen Klopp explains Sevilla row and why it's now forgotten

    Even though the reds brought on Coutinho , Sturridge and a very late arrival for Oxlade-Chamberlain they couldn't get the victor . Liverpool took on Sevilla in their Champions League opener in what turned out to be an entertaining game.
    Cricket comes home to Pakistan, with help from Tahir

    Cricket comes home to Pakistan, with help from Tahir

    Amla was part of the Proteas side that beat the hosts 1-0 in a two-match Test series and then 3-2 in five ODI games in 2007. Other players include George Bailey of Australia and Grant Elliott of New Zealand.
    New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Initial observations and thoughts

    New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: Initial observations and thoughts

    Well, we also saw early signs that Bowles is going to be just as puzzling to observe this year as he was last year. McCown, a 15-year veteran who is playing on his eighth N.F.L. team, is not the Jets' quarterback of the future.
  • Irma now a tropical storm

    Irma now a tropical storm

    It also spread misery into Georgia and SC as it moved inland with winds at 50 miles per hour , causing flooding and power outages. Florida officials are urging people to stay in their homes and shelters, even if it looks like Hurricane Irma has passed.
    AR Storm Chaser Follows Eye of Irma

    AR Storm Chaser Follows Eye of Irma

    Irma's center was about 105 miles (170 km) north of Tampa when forecasters announced it had weakened to a tropical storm . President Donald Trump has signed a disaster declaration that should speed federal funding to damaged areas in Florida .
    Three important final thoughts before Vikings vs Saints kickoff on MNF…

    Three important final thoughts before Vikings vs Saints kickoff on MNF…

    I counted nine snaps for Peterson with six carries (18 yards, no touchdowns), his lowest total in his career , per NFL Research. Majority came in the second half after New Orleans held the rookie to just 22 yards before both teams hit the locker room.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.