Tuesday, 12 September 2017

NASA's Cassini probe is about to plunge to its doom — and its fiery death may be visible to telescopes on Earth

NASA's Cassini probe is about to plunge to its doom — and its fiery death may be visible to telescopes on Earth

Early on Friday morning, NASA's Cassini probe will meet its doom as it becomes a streak of plutonium-laced fireworks in the clouds of Saturn. The nuclear-powered robot was launched in 1997 year to deeply study Saturn and its mysterious collection of moons. Cassini arrived in 2004, dropped off a lander on one moon, began orbiting Saturn, and has beamed back data and images to Earth ever since. Scientists would love to keep the $3.26-billion mission going, but knew their robot would eventually run too low on propellant to safely control.

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