Cassini spacecraft to begin 'grand finale' plunging into Saturn

Cassini spacecraft to begin 'grand finale' plunging into Saturn

Cassini spacecraft to begin 'grand finale' plunging into Saturn

Now, the aging spacecraft has almost depleted the fuel reserves it uses for navigation and corrections, and so NASA is ending the mission the best way it knows how: By making the craft dive repeatedly through the space between Saturn and its own rings until the time comes to crash Cassini right into the planet itself.

NASA engineers are now conducting a final check on the list of commands that will maximize scientific returns during the kamikaze dive, before uploading the instructions to Cassini on April 11.

NASA has made a decision to safely dispose of the spacecraft in the atmosphere of Saturn to avoid the unlikely possibility of Cassini someday colliding with one of these moons.

Cassini also observed storms, lightning and clouds around Saturn for the first time.

Monk says India never used him against China
India offered him a base in the hill town of Dharamsala, where he was allowed to set up a government-in-exile. China also lodged a protest with India's Ambassador in Beijing Vijay Gokhale.

Cassini is nearing its final days - and final orbits.

"We put the probability of losing the spacecraft (early) at slightly over 1 percent", Maize said.

The first of the dives is expected to begin April 26. Astronomers predict that the gap between Saturn and its rings will be clear of large particles that can potentially damage the spacecraft. Cassini promises to deliver incredible science as well as never-before-seen views of the ringed planet right up until the very end.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, finding that some channels are deep, steep-sided canyons filled with liquid hydrocarbons.

Fed minutes reveal debate over inflation and Trump
Trump has promised to lower corporate tax rates and spend at least $1 trillion on infrastructure but has provided little details. With improving economic conditions, the Fed increased interest rates by 25 basis points on March 15.

"There might be hypothermal vents on its sea floor and perhaps even life", Cassini Project lead scientist Linda Spilker told KPCC's Nick Roman.

An artist's impression of Cassini breaking up in Saturn's atmosphere.

To be fair, this is classic Cassini: Even as it's dying, the courageous li'l orbiter will have its antenna pointed at Earth, broadcasting its life up until the very end.

But before its demise, Cassini has one last mission. It will also provide new details on the rings that could help pin down how they formed, whether from a moon that ventured too close to its parent planet or from material that never got a chance to gather into a moon. Saturn's unique environment has acted like a natural laboratory, demonstrating how moons are formed and destroyed - findings that can be scaled up to better understand how planets formed around the sun and, perhaps, around other stars, scientists have said. In its final research campaign, the spacecraft will gather information that should reveal Saturn's inner structure. "I think there will be a tremendous cheer and applause for the completion of an absolutely incredible mission".

Wenger urges Arsenal to build on point against Man City
Wenger's current contract expires at the end of the campaign and he has yet to announce if he will sign a new deal at the club. Arsene Wenger has admitted Arsenal started their 2-2 draw against Manchester City with a "high level of anxiety".

And if the mission is successful, there's a great deal we could learn.

Related news