NASA has released a spectacular image of one of Saturn’s smaller moons Hyperion. Hyperion is an enigma among all the moons of different planets. It orbits its planet in a very chaotic and unpredictable manner. Luck has smiled on us once again and the Cassini has been able to capture the moon with its narrow-angle camera on August 22, 2016, in green light.
The chaotic nature of the spin of the Hyperion’s spin axis meant that it is almost not possible to predict how the moon will be rotating in the future. Very few celestial objects have such chaotic orbital orientation. The moon was seen by American astronomers WC Bond, GP Bond and English astronomer William Lassell in 1848.
The conclusion of the mission will be spectacular, something akin to a suicide mission which will be of course beneficial to mankind and not about the death and destruction which is associated with the term. NASA masters had chosen to end the satellite by a plunge into Saturn to minimize any chance of contamination on the moons of Saturn which could be fostering some form of primitive live forms.
The spacecraft made some very close dives across the outer ridges of Saturn on November 30. The craft also passed the plane of the planet’s ring on December 4. The ending have a few more close passes through the rings before the craft will make its final plunge into the ringed planet’s atmosphere. The Cassini will continue to transmit data right till its demise or when the signal is lost. On September 15, 2017, the spacecraft would have exhausted all its fuel on board and no more orbital correction will be possible.
A number of scenarios for the end of the craft which included a crash on any icy moon or the D-ring was considered. However a fiery end in Saturn’s atmosphere was the best and will enrich our knowledge about the ringed planet in greater detail. Saturn was always considered an enigma in popular culture, it symbolizes deceit and wickedness. The Cassini mission has gone a long way in erasing this conception of the planet.