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Cassini: Everything Nasa learned from the epic Saturn mission
15 Setiembre 2017, 06:12 | Benedicto Grullon
Cassini's Grand Finale Livestream: Watch Spacecraft Plunge Itself Into Saturn Skies Online
And so a man-made meteor will streak across Saturn's sky, though confirmation of the spacecraft's demise more than a billion kilometers away, and on the wrong side of the asteroid belt, will not reach Earth for another 83 minutes, when the signals beamed home from the probe fall silent.
"From its launch in 1997 to the unique Grand Finale science of 2017, the Cassini-Huygens mission has racked up a remarkable list of achievements". Saturn is the furthest planet which is visible to us from Earth with the naked eye. Some massive rings suggest that they started their life at the time of the Saturn origination.
Carolyn Porco, who led Cassini's Imaging Team, said the moons were an exciting discovery.
But its current route, mortal as it may be, was too tempting.
The dust data also look set to answer a long-standing question: how old the rings are.
Spacecraft navigators predict the trajectory with astounding precision. The end of the mission will see Cassini enter Saturn's atmosphere and at around 950 metres above the cloud tops it will lose contact with Nasa and begin to burn-up.
Cassini'smagnetometer has already made some unexpected discoveries.
It captured active geysers on Enceladus, one of Saturn's 62 moons. And even after it has beamed its last broadcast, Cassini will leave us with almost 400,000 images to comb through, and countless hours of scientific data waiting to reveal even more secrets of our solar system. JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA'sScience Mission Directorate in Washington.
When Cassini arrived, it witnessed a giant storm circling the planet for nine months. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.
In short, Cassini not only fulfilled its mission, it exceeded expectations.
While saddened like everyone else, program manager Earl Maize said he felt great pride and couldn't have asked for more from "such an incredible machine". AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information. At first Cassini scientists thought this might be due to an unseen ocean, but instead discovered something even stranger: Mimas had a football-shaped core.
No other spacecraft has ever explored this unique region.
Calculations show that the device will begin to disintegrate within 30 seconds after loss of signal with him, and two minutes later be completely absorbed by the atmosphere of the planet. The craft will continue its scientific mission to the very end, with eight of its scientific instruments operating and transmitting data for as long as they are able.
But after a noble 20-year, billion miles trip through space, the historic Made in Sheffield programme will burst into a fireball as it zips through Saturn's atmosphere. "It is like the death of a close friend". JPL officials working on the mission said the end was bittersweet, "but mostly sweet", one said.
The RTGs produced by Los Alamos that powered the spacecraft are also part of the space power systems aboard the Mars Science Laboratory-Curiosity Rover, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Galileo, Ulysses, Cassini and New Horizons.
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