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Cassini Spacecraft Gets A 'Goodbye Kiss' Before It Meets Its End

13 September 2017

In fact, Saturn icy moon, one of the Cassini biggest revelations includes unveiling Enceladus and the fact that it has numerous components needed for life.

Cassini is ending its 13-year tour of the Saturn system with an intentional plunge into the planet to ensure Saturn's moons - in particular Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and signs of hydrothermal activity - remain pristine for future exploration, Dyches said.

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The plan for that phase of the mission was to expend all of Cassini's propellant while exploring the ringed planet, ending with a dive into Saturn's atmosphere.

The geometry of the flyby causes Cassini to slow down slightly in its orbit around Saturn. Titan also has lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons on its surface. The space craft has spent almost 14 years which is equivalent to half year as per Saturn where 1 year is equivalent to 29 Earth years. Since then, the spacecraft has been beaming home miraculous images and scientific data, revealing countless wonders about the planet, its rings, and 62 moons-including some that could harbor life.

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Cassini arrived in Saturn's region of the Solar System in 2004. One of them being the planet's magnetosphere. Another important finding that categorizes Saturn's magnetosphere is the ideal alignment of its magnetic poles with the axis of its rotation. Because of insufficient fuel, it would fail and might end up being in a state where the navigation crew loses its control.

The destruction of the ship in Saturn's atmosphere is to prevent it from crashing into - and contaminating - one of the planet's moons. During that course, it will keep sending valuable information which will allow researchers to know more about the intricate magnetosphere, atmosphere, and particles which constitute the rings of Saturn. The spacecraft's fateful dive is the final beat in the mission's Grand Finale, 22 weekly dives (begun in late April) through the gap between Saturn and its rings.

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Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate, said: "Cassini has transformed our thinking in so many ways".

Cassini Spacecraft Gets A 'Goodbye Kiss' Before It Meets Its End