Cassini is destroyed, but its successful mission to Saturn will be remembered

Nitin Agarwal Science

NASA Cassini

Without Cassini, no one would have ever thought of life existing in the moons of Saturn. NASA’s revolutionary Cassini spacecraft astonishingly discovered the presence of liquid water as well as active Chemistry on Titan and Enceladus thus hinting towards the possibility of life on those moons. These type of results have excited the scientists, and they are now focusing more on the exploration of icy oceans of the solar system, and for that, a mission has been finalized to begin from 2020 targeted towards the investigation of conditions for life on Europa, the moon of Jupiter. And also for this, the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to be launched next year. The orbital tour designs of Cassini will help the Europa Clipper during its mission.

During the post-event news conference, Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Mike Watkings told that the unbelievable discoveries made by Cassini during its 13-year-old long voyage across Saturn has rewritten the textbooks and also found out that it could be habitable thus guarantying our return to the ringed world. It should be noted that JPL has designed, built, managed and controlled the Cassini spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. The complete Cassini-Huygens mission was jointly planned by NASA, the European Space Agency, and Italian Space Agency.

Cassini managed to give some important information about the atmosphere of Saturn during the last few seconds of its mission which is defined as the Grand Finale. After a long 20 years in space including brave dives between Saturn and its rings in the past five months, finally, on Friday, Cassini went through a controlled plunge into Saturn. NASA’s Deep Space Network complex in Canberra, Australia got disconnected from the spacecraft at 7:55 a.m. During its final dive, Cassini was cruising towards the atmosphere of Saturn at 70,000 mph, and after that, it got burnt and immersed in the atmosphere. Many scientists considered Cassini mission as an amazing one and were sad that the Cassini finally got destroyed, but they were confident that the valuable information, as well as the images that Cassini sent, would help them in future explorations and considered it as the beginning of a new chapter.

Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said that Cassini’s discovery of ocean worlds at Titan and Enceladus changed everything and shooked their view to the core about surprising places to search for potential life beyond Earth.

Last modified: September 16, 2017

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