Cassini’s Closing Act

Cassini is using out of gas.

So before goal managers remove control, they’ve directed a booster on
a no-return march into Saturn’s atmosphere, where it’s scheduled to burn
up Sept. 15 during about 3:45 a.m. PDT. The pierce is precautionary. A dead
spacecraft carrying stowaway microbes could pervert icy Enceladus, a
moon Cassini showed us has a tainted sea and a intensity for life.
Instead, attrition from a high-speed windy entrance will destroy

NASA launched Cassini from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 15, 1997, and it slid
into Saturn’s circuit scarcely 7 years later. The robotic booster proved
so strong that NASA extended a goal twice.

Its twin 1-megapixel cameras, built in a early ’90s, snapped thousands of
pictures. Along a way, Cassini detected 7 moons and parachuted the
Huygens examine down to Titan, a usually famous moon with a thick atmosphere.
But maybe a many extraordinary find was detecting organic compounds in
the saltwater sea sloshing underneath Enceladus’ icy shell.

Now a final leg of a mission, that NASA calls a Grand Finale, flings
the qualification over Saturn’s puzzling frigid hexagon and into a array of
daring dives between world and rings. On that final day in September, the
team will accumulate to contend goodbye during a Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, Calif. Among them will be Cassini’s scholarship group leader, Linda
Spilker. She’s been with a group for roughly 30 years — or a equivalent
of only one Saturn orbit, she says.

“When a vigilance stops, there will be a impulse of silence, afterwards applause
and tears,” Spilker predicts. “We will skip her.”

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Posted by on Sep 14 2017. Filed under Space & Physics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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