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Cassini’s Grand Finale

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Witness Cassini's Grand Finale on September 15, 2017. After 13 remarkable years studying Saturn, it plunged into the atmosphere, sending data till the end. One last picture, tasting Saturnian gases at 76,000 mph, thrusters fighting to stay on course. 🚀🪐


On September 15, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft, one of the greatest spacecraft to ever study space, ended its thirteen year mission of Saturn after sending back enormous amounts of data.

Only designed for a five-year mission, Cassini was running out of fuel. So the decision was made to plunge it into Saturn—to burn up in the atmosphere, instead of contaminating nearby moons.

The days leading up to its final moments were called the mission’s ‘Grand Finale’ where on its final day it took one last picture of where it would plummet, before turning off its bandwidth-hungry cameras completely.

It would need all of its powers to sample the Saturnian atmosphere and transmit that data to Earth. One last time.

In its final moments its instruments tasted the gasses at 76,000 miles per hour.

At 6:21 AM it fired ten percent thruster capacity to stay on course. Heat increasing. One minute later thrusters were at a hundred percent, fighting from tumbling.

Then… silence.