Image: Titan flyby 22 April 2017

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Running low on fuel, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has begun the final — and most daring — phase of its epic mission to Saturn.    After using a final flyby of the moon Titan on Friday to boost its speed, Cassini was flung by the moon's gravity to a trajectory that sent it diving through the 1,200-mile (1,930 kilometers) gap between the planet's upper atmosphere and innermost rings, NASA officials said.   Cassini completed the first crossing of the ring plane at about 2 a.m. PDT (5 a.m. EDT, or 0900 GMT) Wednesday, the space agency said in a statement. [Cassini's "Grand Finale" at Saturn in Pictures]   This final journey will end Sept. 15 when the spacecraft burns up in Saturn's crushing atmosphere. There is no turning back now; Cassini is on a "ballistic trajectory," and its fate is sealed, NASA scientists have said. The Grand Finale has been designed to prevent the spacecraft from contaminating the potentially habitable Satur

Image: Titan flyby 22 April 2017

Tue 25 Apr 17 from

Cassini completes final—and fateful—Titan flyby

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.

Mon 24 Apr 17 from

NASA image captures Earth between the rings of Saturn

A new image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between the icy rings of Saturn.

Fri 21 Apr 17 from

Cassini heads toward final close encounter with Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of Saturn's haze-enshrouded moon Titan this weekend. The flyby marks the mission's final opportunity for up-close observations of the ...

Wed 19 Apr 17 from

[In Depth] Cassini embarks on twilight mission at Saturn

This month, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which has spent the past 13 years exploring Saturn and its moons, will start the beginning of its end, threading the gap between the gas giant and its ...

Thu 13 Apr 17 from Science Now

Saturn spacecraft begins science swan-song

Wed 12 Apr 17 from Nature News

As Cassini Makes 1st 'Grand Finale' Dive, More Saturn Mysteries Remain

Running low on fuel, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has begun the final (and most daring) phase of its epic mission to Saturn.

Wed 26 Apr 17 from

No Turning Back: Titan Flyby Assures Cassini's Crash Into Saturn

There's no turning back now. The Cassini probe's most recent flyby of Saturn's moon Titan puts the spacecraft on a path to crash into the ringed planet.

Wed 26 Apr 17 from

Cassini prepares for its 'death dive' into Saturn's rings

The first of the spacecraft's 22 deep dives between Saturn and its innermost ring is scheduled today at 10am BST (5am ET). Communications will then go dark until Thursday morning.

Wed 26 Apr 17 from Daily Mail


Bookmark and Share