NASA’s Cassini probe bids farewell to Saturn with epic image

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was always destined to be a doomed hero. After two decades in space, diligently exploring Saturn and its many strange and beautiful moons, operators deliberately crashed the spacecraft into the planet to make sure the moons remain pristine and unaffected by debris. But not before the spacecraft took one final, breathtaking look […]

I didn’t follow Cassini carefully, but I still miss it

Enlarge / Saturn glows as Cassini spies the planet eclipsing the Sun. (credit: NASA) I’ve now been writing about science for nearly a dozen years, which means my career more or less overlaps with that of the Cassini probe. Unlike that spacecraft, fortunately, nobody’s directed me to burn up in the atmosphere of Saturn. But, […]

NASA picked the 100 greatest images of Saturn from its Cassini mission — here are some of the best

NASA/JPL-Caltech After 13 years of orbiting Saturn and its moons, NASA’s bus-size Cassini probe is now a puff of radioactive vapor in the planet’s swirling clouds. Space agency leaders knew this day would come since 2010, when they decided to empty Cassini’s tanks to continue exploring Saturn as long as possible. Without a means of […]

Cassini mission ends with final plunge into Saturn

At around 7:31 AM eastern time, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft disintegrated and plunged into Saturn, becoming the only man-made object ever to touch our solar system’s second largest planet. “The signal from the spacecraft is gone and within the next 45 seconds, so will be the spacecraft,” said NASA JPL Cassini program manager Earl Maize. “This […]

NASA’s Cassini probe is about to plunge to its doom — and its fiery death may be visible to telescopes on Earth

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI On Friday, NASA is destroying its Cassini spacecraft at Saturn to prevent contaminating the planet’s moons. The fireball in Saturn’s clouds should be visible to telescopes in space or on the ground. NASA can’t use the Hubble Space Telescope to photograph the probe’s destruction, but astronomers on the ground might catch a glimpse of […]

Cassini will take five victory laps before plunging into Saturn

Over the past few months, Cassini took the closest pictures of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever seen that it was pretty easy to forget that the probe was nearing its end. It actually dove in and out of the rings to prepare for its poetic death, and now it’s down to its last orbits around the […]

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is about to plunge between Saturn and its rings — before spiraling into the planet

For the last 13 years, a NASA spacecraft the size of a school bus has been whirling around Saturn, collecting data and snapping mesmerizing images of the ringed planet and its icy moons. That vehicle is Cassini, and its exploration of Saturn has led to some of the biggest discoveries ever made about the worlds […]