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Get Ready for Cassini’s Glorious Grand Finale

4 Apr 2017, 23:18 UTC
Get Ready for Cassini’s Glorious Grand Finale NASA/JPL-Caltech
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The end is near. On September 15, 2017, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will end its mission as well as its very existence with a plunge into the atmosphere of the very planet it has been orbiting since June 2004. It’s a maneuver intended to protect the pristine environments of Saturn’s icy moons, some of which harbor hidden reserves of liquid water, from potential impact contamination by an incapacitated spacecraft at some distant time in the future. But even though the reasons are noble, there’s no doubt that the final flight of Cassini and its inevitable loss will be a sad event for all those — myself very much included — who have followed along on its journey of discovery all these years.

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