The #1 Paranormal News Site
For about 60 seconds, Cassini used the last reserves of its rocket fuel to fire its thrusters, fighting the upper atmosphere of Saturn as it descended to its fate. After receiving a “goodbye kiss” from Titan on September 11—a gravitational sling from the large moon to put the spacecraft on the correct trajectory—Cassini hurled toward Saturn one last time at roughly 75,000 mph, on a collision course to plunge into the planet itself and burn up in the high clouds. The loyal craft fought all the way down to keep its antenna pointed toward Earth, beaming back the final bits of precious science data until the bitter end.
“Who knows how many PhD theses might be in just those final seconds of data,” says Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scientist.
Those final seconds of data represent the first ever direct sampling of Saturn’s atmosphere, giving scientists unprecedented information about the makeup of the planet. It’s an amazing opportunity to make a new discovery at the ringed world, something Cassini has been doing consistently for 13 years in orbit. From water erupting on the surface of Enceladus, to liquid methane flowing on Titan, to a great atmospheric storm that encircled the planet, and tantalizing clues about the age of Saturn’s rings, Cassini has discovered more wonders than anyone could have guessed.
“In 2004, we never dreamt we’d be here in 2017 still talking about Cassini and collecting science data,” said Todd Barber, Cassini Propulsion Engineer.
NASA’s flagship mission to Saturn has captivated the world, reinvigorating the wonder that only space exploration can bring—the possibility of life beyond Earth, the enormity of the firmament and our place within it.
“The signal of the spacecraft is gone and within the next 45 seconds, so will be the spacecraft,” Cassini Program Manager Earl Maize announced in the control room.
Farewell Cassini, a little piece of Earth in the skies of Saturn.
The #1 UFO Resource