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Goodbye Cassini! Thank you for the wonderful insights about Saturn!

Sameer ManasSameer Manas

Cassini is a spacecraft that is designed NASA. Huygens was designed by NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and ASI (Italian Space Agency). Cassini’s main objective is to study the outer atmosphere of Saturn and its rings.

No one probably knew back then that this mission would be successful and be a breakthrough in outer space study.

The mission was launched in the year 1997.

 

After 13 years of successful flyby’s, Cassini captured a lot of information. Information about Saturn, it’s atmospheric components, moons Enceladus and Titan.

The Huygens landing on Titan gave a brief look at what it is like on other heavenly bodies in our solar system. Titans oceans gave a sign of habitable atmosphere to any extra-terrestrial microbes.

On September 15, 2017 around 5:30 PM IST, the Cassini spacecraft burned in the outer atmosphere of Saturn. In a move to prevent the spacecraft crashing on any of Saturn’s moons, this decision was taken.

Cassini didn’t have enough impulse to exit from Saturn’s atmosphere. This means that it has to simply stay there till it deteriorates. This may end up in crashing with any of Saturn’s moons in their orbit contaminating them.

Hence this step of crashing Cassini in Saturn’s outer atmosphere was vital.

At the end of its mission, the Cassini spacecraft executed the “Grand Finale” of its mission. It included lots of risky passes through the gaps between Saturn and Saturn’s inner rings

This is the video of Cassini’s Grand Finale:

Until the last moment it entered Saturn’s atmosphere, Cassini was capturing information and sending it to earth.

This is what Cassini looks like:

Cassini Instruments on board

Cassini’s Achievements:

Cassini Achievements

Here are some images captured from Cassini:

Titan Moon:

Hexagonal North Vortex:

Some of Cassini’s prime objectives were:

Each of them were executed perfectly. The mission was executed beyond expectations and a perfect success!

IDL TIFF file

When I learnt about the Huygens landing, I felt a sense of pride that humans could reach as far as Jupiter. I never thought Cassini would successfully go near Saturn. I used to think it would get destroyed by Saturn’s dust rings. Only now we came to know that Saturn’s rings are made up of ice.

Final images taken from Cassini (Source: NASA JPL):

Enceladus Setting Behind Saturn

Enceladus
This view of Enceladus was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back.

A Last Look at Titan

Titan
As it glanced around the Saturn system one final time, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this view of the planet’s giant moon Titan.​ These views were obtained by Cassini’s narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2017. They are among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.

Finale Ringscape

Saturn Rings
This image of Saturn’s rings was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.

Saturn: Before the Plunge

Saturn Hemisphere
This image of Saturn’s northern hemisphere was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.

Daphnis’ Final Appearance

Daphnis
This image of Saturn’s outer A ring features the small moon Daphnis and the waves it raises in the edges of the Keeler Gap. The image was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.

Lone Propeller

Propeller
This view of Saturn’s A ring features a lone “propeller” — one of many such features created by small moonlets embedded in the rings as they attempt, unsuccessfully, to open gaps in the ring material. The image was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.

Read more about Cassini from NASA through this e-book.

The universe is an unexplained phenomenon. No one ever could explain what the universe is how it came to this stage. No one probably ever will.

The universe is so vast that no one will ever be able to explore it. But, the spirit of adventure must never die within us. We must aim for much more outer space exploration and learn what this universe has to show us.

Image Credits: NASA JPL & WikiMedia Commons

Disclaimer: This content was written by me with excerpts from NASA JPL and Wikipedia.

An Entrepreneur, Blogger, Internet of Things enthusiast, Passionate learner, Investor, UX guy, coffee drinker and learns something new everyday. Read more on my about page.

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