On September 15, 2017, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will use its remaining fuel and the gravity of a nearby moon to hurl itself into the atmosphere of Saturn, where it will burn and disintegrate like a meteor. Cassini’s fiery end—which scientists are engineering in order to ensure that the spacecraft won’t contaminate any of Saturn’s moons—will mark the conclusion of its nearly 20-year voyage through space.
Cassini sailed past Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus. It revealed haunting scenes of solar storms brewing, spongy cosmic surfaces, and undetected views of Saturn’s icy rings. And throughout it all, the itinerant spacecraft sent postcards home, providing scientists and the public with some of our best images of the outer solar system.
Johanna Mayer is a podcast producer and hosts Science Diction from Science Friday. When she’s not working, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.
Carl Sagan Reflects On The Pale Blue Dot
A new image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft features Earth as a speck, recalling our planet's first portrait taken from the outer solar system more than 20 years ago.
Cassini’s Final Year, And Juno’s First
One mission is winding down. Another has just begun. A look at what’s next for each.
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