Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cassini's grand finale

The Cassini mission to Saturn is one of the most ambitious efforts in planetary space exploration ever mounted.

A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), Cassini is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet and studying the Saturnian system in detail.

After 13 memorable years, the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has entered its final dive, called "The Grand Finale".

Google commemorated the event in a doodle that celebrates the journey of the nearly 20-year-old spacecraft. Cassini has stayed in space these long years and is now beginning the last leg of its exploration journey.

According to NASA's website following the spacecraft, "Cassini will leap over the planet's icy rings and begin a series of 22 weekly dives between the planet and the rings" after a final close flyby of Titan.

The spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral in The US in 1997, is now running out of rocket fuel for its mission that will conclude on September 15 this year.

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