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Saturday, September 16, 2017

NASA received its last data transmission from the Cassini spacecraft at 4:55:46 a.m. PDT Friday, before losing contact with the probe as it hurtled into Saturn's atmosphere. It was a fiery grand finale for the probe, which spent 13 years orbiting the ringed planet. NASA officials expect that Cassini broke apart about 45 seconds after that final transmission, due to the intense friction and heat generated by the fall. During Cassini's final moments, mission scientists and team members watched anxiously as data continued to come in from the spacecraft as it hurtled through Saturn's atmosphere. The signal was lost when Cassini could no longer keep its antenna pointed at Earth, due to the intense friction created by its fall through the atmosphere. "This is a historic moment, and I think the mood reflects that," Morgan Cable, a research scientist at JPL, said of the event. "This is a celebration of an amazing mission and incredible legacy."




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During its 13-year tenure at Saturn, Cassini captured breathtaking images of the ringed planet, revealing swirling storms and a hexagonal jet stream swirling around Saturn's north pole. The probe saw strange features in the planet's ring system, found evidence of meteors crashing through the rings in the past, and watched as the planet's many moons caused the rings to change and evolve.

The spacecraft discovered new moons around Saturn; the planet has 53 named moons and another nine unnamed moons, and there are many more small objects that might one day be confirmed as moons. Cassini found geysers erupting from the surface of the large, icy moon Enceladus. Further study of the geysers has since indicated that Enceladus' subsurface water ocean might have conditions suitable for life. Cassini revealed new details about the strange surface of the moon Titan, which is dotted with liquid methane lakes, rivers and oceans.


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As Neil DeGrasse Tyson said, "VIP. Vaporize in Peace."

#1 | Posted by TheTom at 2017-09-15 08:32 PM | Reply

It also discovered that enceladus (one of the moons) has an ocean under it's icy surface.

Titan has lakes of liquidfied natural gas. I wonder how long it will be before the oil companies start mining that?

#2 | Posted by kudzu at 2017-09-16 06:57 AM | Reply

I hope I live to see the day that we have littered on every planet in the solar system!

#3 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-09-17 06:42 AM | Reply

Make Titan Great Again!

#4 | Posted by kudzu at 2017-09-17 07:52 AM | Reply

"Cassini Spacecraft Crashes Into Saturn"

Asian woman at the controls eh?

#5 | Posted by HanoverFist at 2017-09-17 09:22 AM | Reply

"Mueller better subpoena JPL quick to see if the Trump Campaign and the Russians had anything to do with this treasonous accident!!!"

-the Usual Suspects

#6 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2017-09-17 08:55 PM | Reply

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