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Farewell to the Cassini Probe, America’s Emissary to Saturn

Jeffrey Kluger, TimeCassini was a machine assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., but in its completed form, it spent far more time as a thing of Saturn than a thing of Earth. It’s fitting, then, that the molecules that made up the metal and silicon and wire and plastic that in turn made up spacecraft will never come home. They will, instead, mix and swirl through the atmosphere of Saturn, becoming part of the world they came to help study. … Read the referenced story here: Farewell to…

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Cassini Disintegrates in Saturn’s Atmosphere, Ending 20-year Journey

Tears, hugs and celebrations Friday marked the end of a 20-year mission to Saturn for the spacecraft Cassini. In mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Cassini program manager Earl Maize’s voice was heard loud and clear: “The signal from the spacecraft is gone, and within the next 45 seconds, so will be the spacecraft.” At a news conference afterward, Maize paid tribute to Cassini. “This morning, a lone explorer, a machine made by humankind, finished its mission 900 million miles away. The nearest observer wouldn’t even…

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft burns up in skies over Saturn

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in the skies above Saturn early Friday in a final, fateful blaze of cosmic glory, following a remarkable journey of 20 years. Confirmation of Cassini’s expected demise came about 7:55 a.m. EDT. That’s when radio signals from the spacecraft – its last scientific gifts to Earth – came to an abrupt halt. The radio waves went flat, and the spacecraft fell silent. Cassini actually burned up like a meteor 83 minutes … Read the referenced story here: NASA’s…

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Cassini spacecraft: ‘Magnifying glass’ at Saturn until end

AP Photo/Uwe Lein CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For more than a decade, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft at Saturn took “a magnifying glass” to the enchanting planet, its moons and rings. Cassini revealed wet, exotic worlds that might harbor life: the moons Enceladus and Titan. It unveiled moonlets embedded in the rings. It also gave us front-row seats to Saturn’s changing seasons and a storm so vast that it encircled the planet. “We’ve had an incredible 13-year journey around Saturn, returning data like a giant … Read the referenced story here: Cassini…

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Science 

Cassini Spacecraft Prepares For A Fiery Farewell In Saturn’s Atmosphere

Enlarge this image NASA’s Cassini probe has orbited Saturn for over a decade. This Friday, scientists will steer it into the gas giant’s atmosphere. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute hide caption toggle caption NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute After 13 years in orbit around Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is about to plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere and disintegrate. NASA decided to put an end to the mission on Friday because the probe is almost out of fuel. Cassini has provided exquisite details about the second-largest planet in our solar system. Take the hurricanes…

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