Cassini in Context: The Life and Death of a Space Traveler
On Friday, September 15, 2017, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will make one final maneuver and then plummet into the planet Saturn. This kamikaze mission is not for show or spectacle, but for science.
The Cassini mission was launched into space in 1997 and spent nearly the next seven years traveling to Saturn, the second largest planet in the Solar System and the sixth planet from the Sun. Before Cassini, scientists had just relatively brief glimpses of this amazing gas giant planet from flybys from NASA’s Pioneer and Voyager missions launched decades ago.