Cassini's Grand Finale at Saturn, illustration

Cassini's Grand Finale at Saturn, illustration

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Caption: Cassini's Grand Finale at Saturn. Illustration of the entry of the Cassini spacecraft into Saturn's atmosphere at the end of its mission. Using its attitude control thrusters, the spacecraft will point its antenna at Earth and relay its final data. Following loss of signal, the spacecraft will burn up like a meteor in Saturn's upper atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft has been surveying the Saturnian system since 2004, with its mission scheduled to end with a final dive to destruction into Saturn's atmosphere on 15 September 2017. A total of 22 polar orbits and dives between the planet and its inner rings, plus the final de-orbiting, are the concluding phase ('Grand Finale') of its mission. Image published in April 2017.

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