Google doodle is celebrating the final phase, also called ‘Grand Finale,’ of Cassini, NASA’s unmanned spacecraft. The spacecraft will dive in between the rings of Saturn planet and click photos while crossing them. Cassini has sent Saturn’s pictures back to the earth earlier also. According to NASA reports, the spacecraft has clicked farewell pictures of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, after making its 127th close approach to the Titan on last Friday i.e. April 21. The spacecraft was named Cassini after an astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini as he was the first who noticed the ring divisions around the Saturn.
The NASA website reads, “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 the Titan. Cassini was launched from Cape Canaveral in 1997and entered the orbit of the Saturn planet in 2004. This 20-year spacecraft’s journey is expected to end on September 15, 2017. The Cassini’s project manager Earl Maize mentioned that the Cassini is now on a ballistic path, which indicates that the path of the spacecraft is directed by gravity instead of thrusters.
The official twitter handle of NASA for the Cassini project reads, “We’re approaching Saturn over the northern hemisphere in advance of first #GrandFinale dive through a gap between the planet and its rings,”. Apart from NASA, there is another space organization also which is a part of the Cassini mission i.e. Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), the Italian space agency. According to Cassini’s project scientist Linda Spilker, the spacecraft has collected a large volume of data which can be utilized for research purpose later on. She also mentioned that its final phase will help the scientists in understanding Saturn’s rings in a better way.
The spacecraft also observed clouds, lightning, and storms around the Saturn. Earlier the spacecraft has given information about the Enceladus, another Saturn’s moon. NASA also announced last April that the Cassini had got an evidence indicating that the ocean lying below the Enceladus moon could also contain life. If you want to see the long journey of Cassini then you can visit NASA’s website where you can easily find 360-degree videos of the spacecraft. We hope that you found the article interesting and informative. If it is so, then do not forget to like and share the article. Stay tuned for the latest updates.