NASA's Cassini has sent its final signal from 1.4 billion km away

Cassini to End 20-Year Mission With Fiery Crash

The probe's death dive was actually carried out at roughly 6:31 a.m. EDT, but the delay and distance between Saturn and Earth caused NASA to continue receiving the probe's final radio signals for another 83 minutes after.

It was a fittingly spectacular end to what is widely regarded as one of mankind's most important forays into space. The Cassini mission gave scientists an unprecedented view of the sixth planet from the Sun.

On Sept. 15, Cassini will plunge into Saturn, sending new and unique science about the planet's upper atmosphere to the very end.

"The signal of the spacecraft is gone and in within the next 45 seconds so will be the spacecraft", Cassini Program Manager Earl Maize announced. "I'm going to call this the end of mission".

Flight controllers wearing matching purple shirts stood and embraced and shook hands. Cassini disintegrated in the skies above Saturn early Friday, following a remarkable journey of 20 years.

"So we're here today to cheer as Cassini finishes that race", she said.


According to NASA estimates, Cassini has already crossed the orbital distance of the F ring - outermost of Saturn's main rings - for the last time.

Scientists wanted to prevent Cassini from crashing into Enceladus or Titan and contaminating those pristine worlds.

The ESA-built Huygens probe travelled with Cassini and was dropped in 2005 onto Titan, another of Saturn's moons. Cassini successfully sailed through the gap 22 times, providing ever better close-ups of Saturn. This has been an incredible mission. you're all an incredible team'. That would make them relatively young compared with Saturn; perhaps a moon or comet came too close to Saturn and broke apart, forming the rings 100 million years ago. Despite the window-cleaner-like liquid which dominates the moon, Titan is the most Earth-like object in our solar system with weather systems that produce rain, which gathers into lakes.

Cassini, an global project that cost $3.9 billion and included scientists from 27 nations, has run out of rocket fuel as expected after a journey of 7.9 billion kilometers. A total solar eclipse crossed the country late last month, and the Nurture Nature Center is planning to mark the 40th anniversary of the launches of Voyager 1 and 2 - which are the farthest man-made objects from Earth. It was an worldwide endeavour, with 27 nations taking part.

The total cost of the planetary exploration mission was $3.26 billion.

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