Global

NASA's Cassini spacecraft dives into Saturn's atmosphere

NASA's Cassini spacecraft dives into Saturn's atmosphere

After 13 years in orbit, Cassini leaves researchers with still more mysteries to ponder: They don't know the length of the Saturn day or understand the quirks of its magnetic field.

Cassini was built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1990s and was sent to space on 1997. Instead, NASA seized the opportunity to plunge the spacecraft into Saturn's atmosphere. "I'm going to call this the end of mission".

Cassini program manager at JPL, Earl Maize, left, and spacecraft operations team manager for the Cassini mission at Saturn, Julie Webster, right, embrace after the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Carolyn Porco, leader of Cassini's imaging team who was a proud member of the team for a long time said, "I consider it the start of life, part two".

Illustration of Cassini spacecraft prepping to dive into Saturn's atmosphere.

The spacecraft tumbled out of control while plummeting at more than 76,000 miles per hour.

NASA's next grand odyssey to the giant planets and their moons won't get off the ground until the 2020s, when it's due to launch a spacecraft to Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter that's thought to harbor a hidden ocean and perhaps even life.

The spacecraft was the first human probe to orbit Saturn. It also collected data that researchers hope will help them solve the mystery of the speed of Saturn's rotation. Seventeenth-century astronomers supplied the spacecraft names: Italy's Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who discovered four moons and the wide division in Saturn's rings, and Holland's Christiaan Huygens, who spotted the first and biggest moon, Titan.

Wilshere looking good ahead of Arsenal return - Wenger
He's getting stronger and stronger every day, and that's what we want from him. If he can keep calm and focus on his job then he is on a good way.

The end was pre-ordained days earlier, when a final maneuver put the spacecraft on a course to dive into Saturn's upper atmosphere. Within about 30 seconds following loss of signal, the spacecraft will begin to come apart; within a couple of minutes, all remnants of the spacecraft are expected to be completely consumed in the atmosphere of Saturn. Mission scientists will examine the spacecraft's final observations in the coming weeks for new insights about Saturn, including hints about the planet's formation and evolution, and processes occurring in its atmosphere. For one last time, Cassini spread its wings and used its instruments to sample Saturn's atmosphere.

Minutes later Cassini vaporized, just a small flash of light streaking across an alien sky.

Julie Webster, spacecraft operations manager for Cassini, said she's been blasting the Moody Blues' "Your Wildest Dreams" in her auto the last few days.

Within a minute, the aluminium body of the craft would have melted, with the final bits to evaporate probably being the iridium and graphite casings, which contain the probe's 72 plutonium fuel pellets.

"We just heard the signal from the spacecraft is gone, and within the next 45 seconds so will be the spacecraft", announced Earl Maize, Cassini's project manager.

"A ideal spacecraft", she said, her voice nearly cracking with emotion.

"Cassini-Huygens is a classic example of a "flagship" mission, accomplishing tremendous science in many disciplines over many years", says Alfred McEwen, a professor of planetary sciences at the University of Arizona.


  • Browns Rookie DE Myles Garrett Has High Ankle Sprain

    Browns Rookie DE Myles Garrett Has High Ankle Sprain

    If Brown doesn't make an end zone appearance this weekend, the perennial Pro Bowler will have plenty of opportunities this season. Hey, Ben: With Myles Garrett out this game and at least next week's against the Ravens, other pass-rushers will have to step up.
    Putin agrees to revise proposal for United Nations  force in Ukraine

    Putin agrees to revise proposal for United Nations force in Ukraine

    But, it also notes that only a small fraction of the meetings Russian Federation proposed have actually happened. Peskov said that Moscow was in favor of resuming dialogue with the USA on key issues.
    Air strikes kill 69 in Syrian east since Sunday: Observatory

    Air strikes kill 69 in Syrian east since Sunday: Observatory

    He said the SDF had advanced to six kilometres from the eastern banks of the Euphrates River across from Deir Ezzor city.
  • Minecraft Now Available On New Nintendo 3DS

    Minecraft Now Available On New Nintendo 3DS

    The game is available starting today on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, as soon as the company's stream ends at around 7PM ET. Nintendo and Microsoft aren't afraid to work together when it comes to Minecraft .
    'Smokin' Joe Mullender breaks down Canelo v Golovkin

    'Smokin' Joe Mullender breaks down Canelo v Golovkin

    Whether it's Canelo or Golovkin, or even Billy Joe, I would fight anyone who has got that IBF title if I'm given the shot. He can box when he wants to, which he did against David Lemieux tremendously well.
    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) Sees Significantly Higher Trading Volume

    Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) Sees Significantly Higher Trading Volume

    The stock of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE: TEVA ) earned "Perform" rating by Oppenheimer on Thursday, August 3. First City Capital Management Inc increased Teva Pharmaceutical Inds ( TEVA ) stake by 122.62% reported in 2016Q4 SEC filing .
  • Record number of terror-related arrests

    Record number of terror-related arrests

    The Home Office said that 91 per cent of those in jail were Islamic extremists while five per cent were far-right extremists. There was also a leap in arrests for "domestic" terrorism, up from 10 in the year to June 2016 to 52 in the latest period.
    Seattle mayor resigns after 5th child molestation charge comes from cousin

    Seattle mayor resigns after 5th child molestation charge comes from cousin

    Murray also is an opponent of President Donald Trump. "I have had enough, '" he said, as quoted by the Seattle Times . Meanwhile when actual abuse of child occurs, they lie about it, they whitewash it and they help keep it going.
    Lakers to retire Kobe Bryant's numbers in December

    Lakers to retire Kobe Bryant's numbers in December

    The Lakers are in a rebuild, as they move away from the Bryant era, one of the greatest stretches in franchise history. Bryant also challenged Washington Wizards point guard, John Wall , to make the NBA First Team All-Defense.
  • Sadio Mane positive despite Liverpool's draw against Sevilla

    Sadio Mane positive despite Liverpool's draw against Sevilla

    A few players could not keep their level from the first half, it wasn't a physical thing, more of a concentration thing. For the second consecutive game, they have leaked more goals than what they should have - 2 goals vs xG of 1.32.
    ICC backs return of worldwide  matches in Pakistan

    ICC backs return of worldwide matches in Pakistan

    From giving standing ovation to the visiting cricketers to chanting "Hashim, Hashim", the fans enjoyed every moment of the game. Thank everyone for the opportunity for coming here. "The wait is over now and worldwide cricket is here", he said.
    One arrested after three children found dead in West Sacramento home

    One arrested after three children found dead in West Sacramento home

    West Sacramento Police said the childrens' mother was inside the home during the incident and was a victim of domestic violence . The community of West Sacramento is in mourning after three children were found dead in an apartment complex Wednesday night.