NASA’s Cassini Mission to Study Saturn Ends as Probe Plummets into Planet


After nearly two decades, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft completed its mission to study Saturn and its moons on the morning of September 15, 2017.

At 7:55:46 AM Eastern, Cassini transmitted its final message to NASA. About 45 seconds later, the spacecraft was transformed into fiery debris as it plummeted through Saturn’s hydrogen and helium-rich atmosphere. Launched in 1997, Friday saw the end of the craft’s 13 years spent orbiting Saturn and its moons, making discoveries that surprised even the NASA scientists involved.

The craft’s mission was extended twice after reaching the gas giant, and NASA decided to intentionally crash the probe into Saturn as it ran out of fuel to send back data about the planet’s upper atmosphere.READ MORE

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