Cassini’s first dive near Saturn

#Cassini #Saturn #space #spacecraft #dive #exploration

A stream of pictures showing Saturn’s swirling clouds, massive hurricane and odd six-sided vortex weather system were transmitted back to Earth by Cassini, which has been exploring Saturn for 13 years.

The Cassini spacecraft dove in the gap between Saturn and it’s innermost ring, a distance of not more than 2,400 km and littered with ice particles. Cassini, which travels at 124,000 km per hour during these dives, can be destroyed even by the smallest particle striking the spacecraft. Hence, Cassini’s dish-shaped communications antenna is re-positioned temporarily during such dives to act as a shield.

The spacecraft will be diving 21 more times after this, as planned by NASA, and will be crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere, thus seeing Saturn at the closest, on September 15.

Read the full article here

This is amazing, getting to know more about other planets. But it is disappointing that we have to crash Cassini, which cost millions of dollars,  because there is no more fuel left in the spacecraft.

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