The Saturn space probe – Cassini is about to take its final descent into Saturn today and the final data from Cassini will be sent back to NASA’s tracking station – some information that was never received ever before. During the final emotional moments right before the probe will lose contact with Earth, you can be with it by watching the historic moment live.
After a 20-year long journey from Earth, into the space and 13-year long lonesome touring around the ring planet called Saturn, NASA’s Cassini will take an intentional plunge into the planet – ending the mission because of exhaustion of fuel. Over past 13-years, Cassini has changed the way we look out for life on other worlds, it has taught us about how we should look beyond the Goldilocks zones. With hundreds of discoveries and thousands of spectacular images and uncountable real data, Cassini has not just been a space mission – but it has become a hope of life beyond Earth.
Today, Cassini will plunge into Saturn and it can be said that it will become a small part of Earth on Saturn. But before losing contact, Cassini will be using its final operating moments beaming back near-real time information about Saturn’s atmosphere. According to NASA, contact will be lost at 7:55 AM ET today, September 15th but its final signal will be like an echo. It will radiate across the solar system for nearly an hour and a half after Cassini itself has gone. Cassini will meet its final fate at Saturn, but its mission will truly never be over and NASA is expected to send many more such space probes to not just Saturn but to all planets in the solar system, and beyond it.
The entire Cassini Finale event will be live streamed by NASA at 7:00 AM ET, and will follow up after the event with live mission commentary from JPL Mission Control and a post-morning news briefing. Here’s the link to NASA TV where you can say goodbye to Cassini and be with it and the astronauts who have been working on Cassini since years, during the emotional finale.
While we will say goodbye to Cassini forever, the final bonanza of data will be transmitted as weak radio signals, will take 83 minutes to travel 1.5 billion km at the speed of light to reach the giant dish antennas in Canberra in Australia. This data will leave us with a hope of lot more Cassinis to be sent, and who knows one day even we could go take a trip to Saturn.