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Published on September 15, 2017 By Uvah In Everything Else

I just watched the last seven minutes of Cassini before it plunged into Saturn's atmosphere at more than 77,000 miles an hour. The pictures it sent back over the last thirteen years plus what the Huygens probe discovered on Titan have to be some of the most spectacular views of the Saturnian system. Not taking anything away from Juno at Jupiter or New Horizons as it flew past Pluto but Cassini in my opinion tops them all. Thirteen years at Saturn! Absolutely incredible.   


Comments
on Sep 15, 2017

What was exactly the reason for intentionally plunging it into Saturn?  13 years or not? 

on Sep 15, 2017

tetleytea

What was exactly the reason for intentionally plunging it into Saturn?  13 years or not? 

To rule out the possibility of Cassini colliding with one of the moons and contaminating them with terrestrial life. There is still hope of finding life in the prebiotic oceans.

on Sep 15, 2017

Okay, thanks for letting me know.  Seems bizarre.  I would think you give one last thrust in the opposite direction, and send it into deep space on your own timing.  It's a time capsule.  

on Sep 15, 2017

I looked at most of the photos, this is truly amazing. The thought and planning that went to this to make it happen, wow, just truly amazing.

on Sep 15, 2017

Cassini was out of fuel, so no deep space thrusting possible.  There was just enough to inject it into the terminal orbit set inside the rings, something believed so dangerous that it was saved for the very end of the mission.  As it turned out, the space between the planet and the rings is remarkably clear, so all the orbits were completed.  Either way, the intact craft or the pieces were destined to intersect the atmosphere, and we learned quite a bit this way while keeping the moons safe.

Anyone seeing shades of 2010 today?

 

on Sep 15, 2017


Cassini was out of fuel, so no deep space thrusting possible.  There was just enough to inject it into the terminal orbit set inside the rings, something believed so dangerous that it was saved for the very end of the mission.  As it turned out, the space between the planet and the rings is remarkably clear, so all the orbits were completed.  Either way, the intact craft or the pieces were destined to intersect the atmosphere, and we learned quite a bit this way while keeping the moons safe.

Anyone seeing shades of 2010 today?

 

Beat me to it. Thanks DMF

on Sep 15, 2017

tetleytea

What was exactly the reason for intentionally plunging it into Saturn?  13 years or not? 

Just to clear that up, it's been just shy of 20 years since it was launched, October 1997.   

on Sep 16, 2017

Oz always figures into the good timing.....managing the moon landing.....now Cassini expiring...

on Sep 16, 2017

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-horizons-next-target-just-got-a-lot-more-interesting

(KBO) 2014 MU69 is New Horizons' next target. As if Pluto weren't enough this probe will be looking at it's next one a billion miles beyond Pluto, the most distant flyby to date (unless Voyager bumps into something). NASA says sometime in 2019. Gonna be some exciting times comin' up.  

on Sep 16, 2017

Is that one of the big ones?  I expect to see a space pirate base!

 

on Sep 16, 2017

Its another Kuiper Belt Object or KBO. Its thought 2014 MU69 is two objects, one orbiting close to another. We'll know when the flyby happens.

on Sep 16, 2017

Unless the pirates get it first.

 

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