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Monday, February 19, 2018

The legendary probe “Cassini” went to meet death

Today ends the mission spacecraft “Cassini” (Cassini) 13 years ago which became the first artificial moon of Saturn. Soon, the probe worked with scientists from 17 countries, will enter the gas giant’s atmosphere and burn up in it without residue.

photo: pixabay.com

The Cassini mission is a joint project of the American space Agency NASA and the European space Agency. The probe was launched on 15 October 1997, and in mid-2004 reached Saturn. Subsequently, the probe has been orbiting the planet for 13 years.

The trajectory of the collision with the Saturn vehicle “Cassini” was released in late April of this year. The final stage of the mission called Grand Finale. In Russian it is usually called the “finale of the Opera”. While in English this phrase is often used to refer to the final part of the presentation sounds even more sublime, as in “literal” sense, it can also be translated as “Grand finale”.

During its work, the spacecraft sent many images of Saturn, its rings and natural satellites, some of which, scientists do not exclude the presence of life. By the way, this is one of the reasons why the mission it was decided to complete, and the spacecraft “drown” in the atmosphere of Saturn if the probe eventually he came down and continued to rotate around the gas giant, over time it could fall to Titan or Enceladus, and this, in turn, would violate the “purity” of future experiments to search for them those or other microorganisms.

Some pictures taken with the spacecraft, space Agency posted on their websites to give an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the cosmos. However, the “aesthetic” component of the mission, as you can guess, played a rather minor role. Scholars interested in new data about the gas giant, and those of the probe actually managed to get a lot. For example, thanks to a research device, experts far more learned about the change of seasons, a gas giant about the nature of the huge polar lights and raging in its atmosphere vortices. All this information allows, in particular, to better understand the early history of the Solar system, experts say.

One of the evidences in favor of the habitability of Enceladus obtained with the help of Cassini, may be called molecular hydrogen and a number of other important for the emergence and development of chemical substances detected by the probe in the water, which rises from the geysers of the Satellite.

Drawing nearer to Saturn, the probe continued to benefit science — in particular, passing between the planet and its rings, he was able to precisely measure the mass and density of the latter. By the way, the inner ring of the planet is much less dense than scientists thought until now. Also relatively recently found out that the interaction of particles in the planet’s atmosphere is unexpectedly difficult.

Even the fact that today the spacecraft burns up in the atmosphere of Saturn, the experts saw an opportunity to obtain unique additional information — entering the atmosphere, Cassini can accurately measure the content of hydrogen and helium. Also produced “the last moment” the data will allow you to get closer to understanding the answer to the question what is the source of the magnetic field of the gas giant.


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