CNET News Video
Cassini creeps closer to crashing into SaturnNASA's Cassini Probe begins maneuvers to study Saturn's atmosphere, coming within 1,000 miles of the gas giant's surface on a path toward the spacecraft's ultimate demise.
NASA's Cassini Probe Mission is nearing it's end, and the spacecraft has begun a slingshot maneuver to getting close to Saturn, traveling between the innermost rings and the planet's atmosphere. In the coming weeks, Cassini will continue to get closer and clo- Closer to Saturn, sending home pictures and scientific data as it nears it's grand finale and burns up in Saturn's atmosphere. This grand finale is kind of like NASA's equivalent of planting a flag on a planet to show humans were there. Although the wreckage will disintegrate as it enters the atmosphere. Cassini was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and has been actively sending home scientific data and photos of its trip for three decades. On Monday morning, the satellite passed just 1600 kilometers, or about 1,000 miles above Saturn's surface, getting a taste of the planet's atmosphere. As it passes, Cassini is scanning the surface and sending these images back to Earth. This data will help scientists figure out the make up of Saturn's atmosphere, and what might exist in the space between Saturn's rings and the planet's surface. They might also figure out exactly how long a Saturnian day is relative to an Earth day. Cassini will become the first Saturn atmospheric prob.e As it gets closer and closer, according to Linda Spilker, a Cassini Project Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On September 15th, 2017, Cassini will crash into Saturn, which will most certainly be an emotional day for all those who have worked so hard on this mission since its conception and launch into space 30 years ago. You can watch NASA's live coverage of Cassini's grand finale on September 15th, 2017 on NASA live TV. [MUSIC]