NASA’s 20-year Cassini mission ended today when the probe was intentionally sent into the atmosphere of Saturn, destroyed to prevent any risk of contamination of the planet’s moons which will be studied in years to come.
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 4:55 a.m. PDT (7:55 a.m. EDT), with the signal received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra, Australia.
— NASA (@NASA) September 15, 2017
And Bobak Ferdowsi imagines Cassini’s last moments in a touching set of anthropomorphic tweets which begins here:
I made the mistake of imagining what it would be like to be Cassini, watching Saturn grow larger & larger, sending my discoveries home…
— Bobak Ferdowsi (@tweetsoutloud) September 14, 2017
[Thanks to JJ for the story.]