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Reconstructing Cassini's Plunge into Saturn

11 Oct 2017, 21:53 UTC
Reconstructing Cassini's Plunge into Saturn NASA

As NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its fateful dive into the upper atmosphere of Saturn on Sept. 15, the spacecraft was live-streaming data from eight of its science instruments, along with readings from a variety of engineering systems. While analysis of science data from the final plunge will take some time, Cassini engineers already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft itself behaved as it went in. The data are useful for evaluating models of Saturn's atmosphere the team used to predict the spacecraft's behavior at mission's end, and they help provide a baseline for planning future missions to Saturn.

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