NASA’s veteran Cassini spacecraft, which was set in motion on 15th October 1997 and arrived at Saturn on 1st July 2004, is ready to set off its scientific grand finale of its extraordinary journey on April 26, 2017. This month, the NASA-powered spacecraft will attempt the final chapter of its years-old journey through a series of dives to the Saturn planet. As said by NASA, the spaceship will take a leap through the 2,400-kilometre gap, located between Saturn and its rings as part of the grand finale of the mission.
As confirmed by the officials of NASA on Tuesday, the agency gearing up to send off its long-lived Cassini probe into an unknown region, positioned between Saturn and its rings for, conducting the scientific grand finale of the years-old story ahead of the suicidal plunge of the probe into the planet. To avoid possibilities of hitch from the Earth microbes that still alive on Cassini and are expected to pollute any potential existing organisms on Enceladus, NASA has planned to hurtle the spacecraft. Currently, the spacecraft is running out of fuel and will bump into Saturn on 15th September 2017.
But before its suicidal plunge, Cassini will carry out one successful mission. On 22nd April, Cassini will perform its final flyby to Titan and employ the gravity of Saturn’s moon to slingshot itself into a new trajectory that crosses inside the 1,200-mile or 1,930-km deep hole between the rims of Saturn’s atmosphere and its deepest rings.
As expected by NASA, Cassini will stay alive for taking at least 22 dives into the rings. But if any particle of the ring hits Cassini, then it could bring the mission to an untimely end as the probe, at that time will be travelling at the speed of more than 70,000 miles or 112,654 kilometres per hour.
To those unaware, Cassini arrived at Saturn in July 2004, and since then, it constantly has been exploring the planet and its 62 known moons, including unfathomable Titan. As believed by scientists, Titan has a resemblance to an early Earth period, and the ocean-bearing moon of Saturn – Enceladus, which is currently firing up ice particles out into space. Cassini is the fourth spacecraft to trip to Saturn and the first to pierce the orbit of the planet.