NASA’s Cassini mission is soon to end and that’s a little sad for anyone who loves space.
Today the spacecraft kicked off the process of its “Grand Finale” this morning with the first of the 22 planned ring dives.
From today, Cassini will execute each of this dives and will eventually crash into Saturn on September 15th, marking the end of the spacecraft’s life.
During this time, Cassini will take a number of close-up shots that will provide some of the best images of Saturn so far, the first of which will be released tomorrow after the flyby earlier today.
So it’s not all bad, we will get some awesome photos…
These new photos will increase of Cassini’s orbit nears Saturn over the next few months, and will continue even as the spacecraft plunges into the planet’s atmosphere.
In case you’re wondering why they are crashing it instead of leaving it in space, NASA wants to ensure that the microbes from Earth on Cassini do not contaminate Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan, which have potential for hosting life.
To celebrate that mission, Google released a new animated Google Doodle that shows a cartoon of Cassini snapping photos of a smiling Saturn as it dives through the rings.
Here’s the doodle:
— CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) April 26, 2017
As we hear more about Cassini, we will be sure to update you.