WeekAhead events

Page 1 of 1

Apr 22, 2017: Cassini probe begins so-named Grand Finale of Saturn mission

SPACE - The Cassini probe descends closer to Saturn, beginning a series of plunges into the space between the planet and its rings. The mission ends in September, when the probe will burn up in Saturn’s atmosphere.

A joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency, Cassini was launched on Oct 15, 1997. It reached Saturn’s system in 2004, and began returning the first-ever clear and close views of the giant and its moons.

In Nov 2016, the spacecraft began its so-called ring-grazing phase with a series of plunges through the planet’s rings.

On April 22, the start of the so-named Grand Finale, “Cassini will leap over the rings to begin its final series of daring dives between the planet and the inner edge of the rings,” according to NASA, “after which it will plunge into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant planet, where it will burn up like a meteor, ending the epic mission to the Saturn system.”

The space agency notes that during the Grand Finale, “Cassini will collect some incredibly rich and valuable information that the mission’s original planners might never have imagined.”

#21988 Published: 01/04/2017

Welcome to Graphic News

Please get in the habit of logging in when you arrive as we will be restricting the number of pages viewable to unregistered users

The website is undergoing the first part of an upgrade, so please let us know if you encounter problems. When responsive graphics are available, there is now a button to show how they adapt to screen size. There are improved indexing and information pages and also an auto translate facility for our foreign readers. We have also incorporated GN NewsAhead and the GN On This Day anniversaries database.