Much in the media over the years, the Cassini–Huygens space mission ended today with the controlled re-entry of the Cassini orbiter into Saturn’s atmosphere after over 13 years there.
Wiki: Cassini–Huygens, or more commonly, Cassini, is a Flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft which was planned, built, launched, and operated in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency, and was sent to the planet Saturn.
Cassini was the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter its orbit. It studied the planet and its many natural satellites from when it entered orbit in 2004 to when it began its final suicide descent in September 2017.
Space.com has been celebrating the mission’s finale phase, and covered its ending today with several articles.
- Tears and Applause: Cassini Team Reflects on Saturn Plunge
- In Photos: Cassini Mission Ends with Epic Dive into Saturn
- RIP, Cassini: Historic Mission Ends with Fiery Plunge into Saturn
- NASA’s Cassini Mission to Saturn: By the Numbers
- Cassini’s Last-Ever Photos Come Down to Earth
- Cassini’s Greatest Hits: The Spacecraft’s Best Images of Saturn
- Saturn Spectacular: NASA’s Free E-Book Offers Top 100 Cassini Images
Wiki: The chosen mission ending involves a series of close Saturn passes, approaching within the rings, then an entry into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, 2017, to destroy the spacecraft. This method was chosen because it is imperative to ensure protection and prevent biological contamination to any of the moons of Saturn thought to offer potential habitability.
An amazing mission team. Truly historic. Many awesome photo galleries. Much science.