September 8, 2017
The Cassini mission’s epic 13-year exploration of Saturn is coming to a close. On Sept. 15, the spacecraft will make a planned plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn in order to protect pristine icy moons that warrant future exploration.
As the mission nears its end, team members reflect on this historic, international collaboration. The video uses a combination of animation and actual imagery returned over the course of the mission.
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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft: A Journey's End
Cassini’s journey to Saturn began in 1997
After a seven-year journey Cassini became the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn
Slowly, people started to gather around these images which no one had seen. Close up images of flying right over the tops of the rings,
and they were ah, just goose bumps. That’s a memory I will never forget.
Cassini has been a voyage of unprecedented discovery
Revealing Saturn’s rings atmosphere and moons
Cassini has changed the paradigm of where we might look for life. You could be a world around a giant planet
and have conditions that are right for life.
In 2005, the Huygens Probe detached from the Cassini Orbiter
And successfully landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon
Titan is an exotic world with lakes and seas of methane and ethane
Cassini is an international collaboration
It’s just a monumental machine. It’s the individual people that all put their pride in putting this together and building it right.
To protect the pristine moons of Saturn, Cassini will plunge into the planet
Ending its thirteen-year tour of Saturn
And then, in Cassini’s final orbit, plunging into Saturn measuring the composition of Saturn’s atmosphere, sending back science til the very last second.
We’ll continue to learn from Cassini long after the end of the mission.
On September 15th, its journey will end.
But Cassini’s legacy is just beginning
LOGO: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology