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2017-09-14. Cassini’s “Grand Finale” Will Be a Blaze of Glory.

posted Sep 21, 2017, 12:25 AM by Alan Gould   [ updated Sep 21, 2017, 12:25 AM ]
By Lee Billings, Scientific American. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: The Cassini orbiter will burn out, but its legacy won’t fade away. ...For NASA’s Cassini orbiter—its fuel dwindling after 13 years exploring Saturn, along with the planet’s sprawling rings and dozens of icy moons—the end will come Friday at 7:55 A.M. Eastern time. That’s when mission planners project radio communications will be lost with the two-ton, bus-size spacecraft as it plunges into the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere at more than 122,000 kilometers per hour. ...“We are concluding the longest, deepest, most comprehensive scientific exploration of a remote planetary system ever undertaken, a system so alien it might as well have been orbiting another star in another galaxy,” says Carolyn Porco, the planetary scientist who leads Cassini’s imaging team. “And we have been profoundly successful.”... https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cassinis-ldquo-grand-finale-rdquo-will-be-a-blaze-of-glory/ See also The Cassini spacecraft crashed into Saturn, ending a successful 20-year mission by Sarah Kaplan and Cassini Vanishes Into Saturn, Its Mission Celebrated and Mourned, by Kenneth Chang