The following excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on The Horn News
After a 20-year voyage, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is poised to dive into Saturn this week to become forever one with the exquisite planet.
There’s no turning back: Friday it careens through the atmosphere and burns up like a meteor in the sky over Saturn.
NASA is hoping for scientific dividends up until the end. Every tidbit of data radioed back from Cassini will help astronomers better understand the entire Saturnian system – rings, moons and all.
The only spacecraft ever to orbit Saturn, Cassini spent the past five months exploring the uncharted territory between the gaseous planet and its dazzling rings. It’s darted 22 times between that gap, sending back ever more wondrous photos.
On Monday, Cassini flew past jumbo moon Titan one last time for a gravity assist- a final kiss goodbye, as NASA calls it, nudging the spacecraft into a deliberate, no-way-out path.
During its final plunge earlypost was originally published on this site