Cassini heads to his death after a 20-year mission. Scientists initially knew that this was the way the project should end. The last minutes will allow us to explore the atmosphere and consider the rings from the inside in more detail.
Cassini is considered a grandiose mission, because it is the only ship that managed to go into Saturn's orbit, show the planet, the lunar family, go into the gaps between the rings and plunge into the atmospheric layer.
The device behaved perfectly in the last hours and received a command to collect data about the atmosphere and send to the earth receiving point to the last breath.
Geysers explode from the surface of Enceladus, confirming the theory that the satellite has a subsurface ocean.
It is expected that the control will disappear when the unit drops at a speed of 122,000 km / h. Scientists invited everyone to observe the flash in telescopes, but there is little chance that it will be possible to track it at such a distance.
The rings of Saturn and the Earth (right), shown by Cassini in 2013
The idea with the Grand Finale appeared at the stage of the end of the fuel after 13 years of orbital work. The researchers could not allow the fall on the satellites, as it is possible to infect an alien world with terrestrial microbes. Therefore, from April, they began to conduct a series of orbital passages between the rings in order to bring the device to the trajectory of a controlled fall.
Saturn's satellite Dion crosses gas giant (transit) in 2015
Cassini started from Earth in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. For all the time of service, the device transmitted 453,000 photographs and covered 4.9 billion miles. This mission involves 27 countries, and the total amount is $ 3.9 billion.