Epic Cassini Saturn Mission Begins 'Grand Finale' This Month

Epic Cassini Saturn Mission Begins 'Grand Finale' This Month

"PASADENA, Calif. — NASA's veteran Cassini mission will officially kick off its farewell tour of the Saturn system on April 22 with a final close encounter of the ringed planet's largest moon, Titan. Five months later, on Sept. 15, Cassini will spectacularly burn up in Saturn's crushing atmosphere.

"But before that happens, Cassini will dive through a 1,200-mile (1,930 kilometers) gap between the planet and its innermost ring to carry out science that is only possible now that the mission is running out of fuel.

"What a spectacular end to a spectacular mission," Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., said via video link at a special news conference held here today (April 4) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). [Cassini's 'Grand Finale' at Saturn: NASA's Plan in Pictures]"

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Cassini has been astonishing from Letter A, especially considering the pittance which NASA has been operating on.  I can't wait to see what pending projects like the Webb Space Telescope will bring to the cosmological table!

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