Milestones in Cassini’s stellar 20-year journey: An infographic

NASA Cassini spacecraft, which had been observing Saturn, its rings and its moons for the past 13 years, ended its mission on Friday.

Published: 16th September 2017 04:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2017 05:15 PM   |  A+A-

This July 23, 2008 image made available by NASA shows the planet Saturn, as seen from the Cassini spacecraft. (Photo | AP)

By Online Desk

NASA Cassini spacecraft, which had been observing Saturn, its rings and its moons for the past 13 years, ended its mission on Friday. The spacecraft was made to plunge into the planet’s atmosphere, getting vapourised on entry.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States’ space agency, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency, whose joint mission the spacecraft had set out for 20 years ago, decided to let Cassini self-destruct by plunging into Saturn after it began running out of fuel. There were fears that otherwise it might accidentally collide with one of Saturn’s moons, Titan or Enceladus, and contaminate them.

The grand finale of Cassini, as NASA called it, was inevitable as there was no way to refuel the spacecraft’s fuel tank, which had enabled its 13 years of exploration.

Cassini had begun its journey in 1997 and arrived at the sixth planet from the sun i.e. Saturn in 2004.

Apart from Cassini, three other spacecrafts flew past Saturn, but Cassini was the only one that managed to circle around Saturn and send back numerous photographs and data that helped scientists study the ringed planet.

After the remarkable 20-year journey, around 7:55 am (United States Eastern District Time), Cassini fell silent. Radio signals from the aircraft came to a sudden halt as the spacecraft hurtled into the planet it had been watching.

Cassini captured more than 453,000 images and travelled 4.9 billion miles in its 13-year journey.

Here are important milestones from Cassini’s mission.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL2018