16 September, 2017
Astronomers around the world bid farewell Friday to NASA's famed Cassini spacecraft, which launched 20 years ago to circle Saturn and transformed the way we think about life elsewhere in the solar system.
Safe disposal of Cassini was seen as the best way to avoid the remote possibility of contaminating the pristine moons with Earth bugs.
As expected, Cassini entered Saturn's atmosphere with its thrusters firing to maintain stability, as it sent back a unique final set of science observations, NASA said.
No spacecraft has ever ventured so close to the planet before.
It's been nearly 20 years since Nasa's Cassini mission launched into space.
SpaceX's blooper reel is an expensive symphony of fiery explosions
Since its first successful landing in December 2015, SpaceX has only crashed three of the rockets that it meant to land. He took to Instagram to unveil a two-minute blooper clip entitled, "How not to land an orbital rocket booster".
What time is Kevin Anderson's US Open final against Rafa Nadal?
The South African won his opening three rounds in straight sets against JC Aragone, Ernests Gulbis and Borna Coric respectively. Serena Williams might be on a leave of absence from the tennis tour, but she is definitely paying attention to the U.S.
Milwaukee Brewers rout Chicago Cubs, narrow deficit to 3 games
Their confidence and resilience has been strong all season, and there's no reason to believe that will change any time soon. Nelson stayed in the game and pitched the bottom of the fifth, but his velocity was down and he was removed from the game.
"These final images are sort of like taking a last look around your house or apartment just before you move out", said Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Cassini, an worldwide project that cost $3.9 billion and included scientists from 27 nations, disintegrated as it dove into Saturn's atmosphere at a speed of 75,000 miles (120,700 kilometers) per hour.
The finale of the mission, which NASA will broadcast and comment live on September 15, were prepared in advance: from April this year, the probe for 22 weeks did "the dip" between the rings of the planet, gradually approaching her. In the 13 subsequent years, Cassini collected unprecedented data from the ringed planet and its many moons.
Several hours before Cassini burned up, its infrared imaging instrument pointed down at Saturn and took a picture of the spot where it was headed.
For the curious, here's how Cassini's last few minutes are going to go down. Perhaps most tantalising, ocean worlds were unveiled by Cassini and its hitchhiking companion, the Huygens lander, on the moons Enceladus and Titan, which could possibly harbour life.
Cassini has also discovered seven new moons, six of which have been named, observed raging storms on Saturn, and shed new light on the planet's famous rings.