Cassini Spacecraft Plunges into Saturn Atmosphere at End of 13 Year Mission

After 13-years orbiting the ringed planet Saturn – the NASA spacecraft Cassini ended it’s mission by plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere.

40_CGF_STILL_00022_1600The information sent back by Cassini changed our understanding of Saturn and it’s many moons and showed us some surprising locations for potential life outside of Earth.

Saturn’s moon Titan and Enceladus held a surprise for us when we visited – oceans.

The moons have liquid oceans of water under their frozen crusts. And in the case of Enceladus – we found hot springs and geysers.

Launched in 1997 – Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004. It’s mission was twice extended, adding dozens of flybys of the icy moons.

And for the last 22-weeks Cassini has been orbiting Saturn, dropping closer and closer until Friday morning, when it finally plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere.

This was done to ensure that those icy moons don’t get contaminated by the spacecraft as it breaks up.

Cassini continued to beam back data during it’s plunge until the spacecraft’s signal was lost at 7:55am.

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