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Excitement and Tears as NASA Goddard Team Prepares for Cassini Finale

12 Sep 2017, 12:39 UTC
Excitement and Tears as NASA Goddard Team Prepares for Cassini Finale NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

When the Cassini orbiter plunges into the atmosphere of Saturn on Sept. 15, a group of NASA scientists based in Greenbelt, Maryland, will be among those waiting for the spacecraft’s last long-distance ping. That bittersweet signal will mark the end of an era for the team, which has devoted two decades to operating the spacecraft’s heat-ray detector, called the Composite Infrared Spectrometer or CIRS.

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