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Watch Cassini Probe Crash Into Saturn in NASA Simulation

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This illustration shows Cassini above Saturn's northern hemisphere prior to one of its 22 Grand Finale dives. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
This illustration shows Cassini above Saturn’s northern hemisphere prior to one of its 22 Grand Finale dives. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

 

Cassini’s time is up. After thirteen years, the NASA probe will take its final orbit and descend towards the planet’s surface in a spectacle that would remain unseen—at least if it weren’t for the computer programmers at America’s space agency.

Starting April 26th, Cassini will start its last descent—but it will be a long final bow. The probe will dive in and out the space between Saturn and its rings, before finally plunging through its atmosphere in September.

To commemorate the occasion and recognize the probe’s impact, NASA created a simulation basically doubles as the probe’s greatest hits. Cassini deserves the adoration: the probe has given scientists a treasure trove of data about the Saturnian system, Engadget reports.

The three-minute video runs through Cassini’s entire journey and shows its final dramatic descent—one that’s a mission of itself. “What we learn from Cassini’s daring final orbits will further our understanding of how giant planets, and planetary systems everywhere, form and evolve,” NASA said in a press release. “This is truly discovery in action to the very end.”

 

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