When the Spacecraft was launched almost 20 years ago, its orbiter and probe were equipped with state-of-the-art technology to conduct in-depth research on the mysterious gas giant.
Assembling the two-story Cassini spacecraft was a feat global collaboration over 10 years before its launch in October 1997, according to a series of interviews conducted by the LA Times .
In fact, Cassini’s mass spectrometer will be collecting atmospheric samples of Saturn just before the spacecraft melts and explodes in its final descent.
But they’re worried that the giant metal craft may accidentally careen into one of Saturn’s moons, possibly contaminating an otherwise pristine environment, and alas, without any more fuel, Cassini is uncontrollable.
Linda Spilker, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab who helped launch Cassini 20 years ago, told the Washington Post she’s proposed a plan to explore Saturn’s moon Enceladus for signs of life.
- Cassini spacecraft: 'Magnifying glass' at Saturn until endPhys.Org
- Watch live as NASA tracks Cassini's fatal plunge into SaturnBGR
- Cassini's Last-Ever Photos Come Down to EarthSpace.com
- Astronomers bid farewell to $3.9 billion Saturn spacecraft CassiniTimes of India
- What time is Cassini's 'Grand Finale'? How to watch NASA spacecraft's final ...Mirror.co.uk
- Cassini spacecraft will make its death plunge into Saturn todayUSA TODAY
- NASA's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn nears fiery finaleABC News
- Fiery farewell to cap Cassini spacecraft's 13-year Saturn missionReuters
- Cassini Dives Into Saturn Today: Here's When and How to WatchSpace.com