If you have searched anything on Google today, you must have come across an interesting Spacecraft animation, dancing on the Google Doodle. You must have noticed the tag line “Cassini Spacecraft Dives between Saturn and its Rings”
Today is indeed a special day in the History of Astronomy. As, the well acclaimed, Cassini Spacecraft has begun its Grand Finale, by diving in between Saturn’s Rings.
Saturn has always garnered attention due to its mysterious Rings and Moons. The interest was so piqued that a spacecraft was launched in October 1997, to exclusively study and observe the Planet.
The ambitious ten year sojourn of Cassini has been well documented. The mission grabbed eyeballs, anticipating life on the distant Planet.
And, Cassini did not disappoint. It did confirm signs of a life-supporting ocean on the Moon Enceladus of Saturn. Since then, the Spacecraft has been in news off and on. And, many beautiful pictures of Saturn, Earth and Saturn’s Moons have been released by NASA.
Today i.e. 26th April 2017 marks a special day in the long journey of Cassini, as it would be spiraling on its Grand Finale, by diving in between the Rings around Saturn.
The move is significant as it would bring the Spacecraft in close proximity to the planet. Allowing the scientists to determine the exact mass of Saturn minus rings, determine how rings are formed and also observe and photograph Saturn’s clouds for the very first time.
The Spacecraft has begun its final journey and would enter Saturn’s atmosphere and crash in September 2017. NASA says that a destructive end of the Explorer is essential, so that Space and Saturn can be saved from any earth borne contaminants and massive debris.
So, let’s pause for a moment, smile and admire at Cassini’s historic antic…