NASA planned to destroy the robot lab Cassini crashing it on Saturn


But “we’ll milk the best out of this,” said Earl Maize, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who manages the Cassini mission. That means NASA’s $3.26 billion probe will perform a last flight to acquire some new data from the planet. During its final orbits above Saturn, Cassini will get its closest-ever views. Cassini will also photograph the auroras of Saturn’s poles, measure how massive the planet’s rings are, “taste” the icy material they’re made of, and even probe deep below its thick clouds to see how big its rocky core is. Hours before it takes its final plunge Cassini will beam back its last batch of images. During that time, it will “taste” the composition of Saturn’s atmosphere as it descends into the gases. Cassini’s death spiral will officially begin on April 22, 2017. The last step of the mission, to destruction, was scheduled for Friday, September 15, 2017.


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