Cassini s Final Image
As planned, the Cassini spacecraft impacted the
upper atmosphere of Saturn on September 15,
after a 13 year long exploration of
With spacecraft thrusters firing until the end, its
atmospheric entry followed an unprecedented series of 22
Grand Finale dives between Saturn and rings.
Cassini's final signal
took 83 minutes to reach
planet Earth and the Deep Space Network antenna complex
in Canberra Australia where
loss of contact with the spacecraft was recorded at 11:55 UT.
For the spacecraft,
Saturn was bright and the Sun was overhead as it
plowed into the gas giant planet's swirling cloud tops at about
70,000 miles (113,000 kilometers) per hour.
But Cassini's final image shows
the impact site
hours earlier and still on the planet's night side,
the cloud tops illuminated by ringlight, sunlight
reflected from Saturn's rings.
Authors & editors:
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings,
NASA Official: Jay Norris.
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& Michigan Tech. U.
Publications with keywords: Saturn - cassini spacecraft
Publications with words: Saturn - cassini spacecraft