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Cassini Spacecraft Ends Its Historic Exploration of Saturn

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:27 am

A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close today, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet.

"This is the final chapter of an amazing mission, but it’s also a new beginning,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Cassini’s discovery of ocean worlds at Titan and Enceladus changed everything, shaking our views to the core about surprising places to search for potential life beyond Earth."

Telemetry received during the plunge indicates that, as expected, Cassini entered Saturn's atmosphere with its thrusters firing to maintain stability, as it sent back a unique final set of science observations. Loss of contact with the Cassini spacecraft occurred at 7:55 a.m. EDT (4:55 a.m. PDT), with the signal received by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra, Australia.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:28 am

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Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This montage of images, made from data obtained by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, shows the location on Saturn where the NASA spacecraft entered Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017. The spacecraft entered the atmosphere at 9.4 degrees north latitude, 53 degrees west longitude.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:29 am



Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, awaited the final transmission from the Cassini spacecraft as it plunged into Saturn's atmosphere ending its 20-year voyage of discovery.

 
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