Cassini Spacecraft Enters Grand Finale On Saturn Mission, Google Doodle Cheers On

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Cassini Spacecraft Enters Grand Finale On Saturn Mission, Google Doodle Cheers On

Cassini Spacecraft Google doodle: The mission has entered its final leg, touted as 'The Grand Finale'.


Cassini Spacecraft orbiting Saturn's Moon, Titan has entered its final dive, called "The Grand Finale". Google doodle for today celebrates the journey of the nearly 20-year-old spacecraft. Cassini, that has stayed in the space for 13 long years, is now beginning last leg of its exploration journey. According to NASA's website following the spacecraft, "Cassini will leap over the planet's icy rings and begin a series of 22 weekly dives between the planet and the rings" after a final close flyby of Titan.

The spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral in The US in 1997, is now running out of its rocket fuel its mission and will conclude on September 15 this year.

The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan last Friday on April 21. Ultra-close images of Saturn's rings and clouds from its mission were transmitted to the Earth across platforms.
 
saturn by cassini

Image of Saturn's moon Titan during NASA's Cassini spacecraft's final flyby on April 21, 2017

These, says the mission's project scientist, Linda Spilker, make up "rich volume of data" that can be used for scientific research later on. For now, the dive will improve people's understanding of Saturn's rings. Some even call the spacecraft a 'time machine'.

Prior to this, Cassini mission has provided exhaustive data on two another moon of Saturn, Enceladus.
 
cassini facts

Some key numbers for Cassini's Grand Finale and final plunge into Saturn.

Buzz around the spacecraft has hardly left any untouched. The website tracking it offers insight into various art forms that have taken inspiration from it. For the revellers, NASA offered, graphics and  360-degree videos on its site about Cassini.



The Space organisation even has a Twitter account that offers real time updates from Cassini. The latest at the time of this article provides a look Saturn's hex storm:
 

The mission is co-operative project of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Italian space agency Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and has seen participation of 17 countries over the years.


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