Today, on Thursday, Cassini will jump to death in Saturn’s ring. Cassini’s body will be gradually torn apart. Next year, it will go under bottomless Saturn. This is the suicidal mission of Cassini, the spacecraft.
Cassini has traveled around Saturn and its moons for 12 years, illuminating its iconic rings and throwing up discoveries such as the methane lakes on Tital.
Now, the craft has embarked on its final leg, which will end with a suicide plunge into the planet itself — but not before an unprecedented mission to skim Saturn’s rings.
Saturn has five main rings, and other fainter ones, made up of chunks of ice and rock. First spotted by Galileo in 1610, the rings are named alphabetically, in order of discovery.
Initially, Cassini will cross a faint ring formed by meteors striking two mini moons, according to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The spacecraft will venture into the fringes of the considerably more substantial F ring in March and April.
This so called F ring, a relatively narrow 800 km wide, is Saturn’s outermost major ring, and appears to be in constant flux.
Project manager Earl Maize said in a statement, “Even though we’re flying closer to the F ring than we ever have, we’ll still be more than 7,800km distant.” He added, “There’s very little concern over dust hazard at that range.”
At the same time, Cassini will pass as close as 90,000km above Saturn’s clouds — until its grand-finale death dive.
None of the spaceships that went to Saturn, have got the opportunity to watch its rings from so near. As a result none of them had taken a good picture of Saturn’s ring from that close. So the world’s leading aerospace research companies like, NASA, European Space Agency, ISRO is looking forward to see Cassini’s historical suicide jump. And the world’s leading astronomers are waiting to to see new images and surprising informations about Saturn’s ring.