NASA is about crash its $3.26 billion spacecraft titled “The Cassini” into Saturn. The crash which is more of a deliberate move to signify the end of Cassini’s mission to Saturn will happen in several phases. Cassini has been flying through Saturn for the last 13 years and has helped NASA do a thorough research through Saturn and its moons. The reason why NASA wants to destroy this unmanned spaceship is that it’s running out fuel.
NASA indicated that it will use the remaining fuel to fly the spacecraft straight into Saturn, it’s clear that it won’t make it to a safe landing and will be destroyed in the process. The space research organization would have taken the craft to other regions in space but they did not want to risk crashing the vessel to places like Enceladus and Titan where alien life might exist. They, therefore, opted to attempt a crash landing into Saturn, although Cassini will most likely arrive on Saturn’s surface in ashes.
As Business Insider published, the destruction of Cassini will flow as follows:
Cassini will attempt its last pass through the gap between Saturn and its rings. The estimated gap between the rings and the planet is slightly over a thousand miles (estimated to be 1044 miles).
The vessel will attempt the last pass through Saturn’s largest moon known as Titan. Titan has been suspected to contain alien life since it has methane and ethane lakes.
Cassini will dive straight into Saturn’s atmosphere while attempting to keep its antennae pointed towards earth. This will enable it to transmit the last pieces of data to earth before its obliteration. On September 15th, its thrusters will be fired to keep its antennae in position (facing earth).
September 15th (7.54 am)
The atmospheric forces of Saturn’s lower atmosphere will overwhelm the vessel causing it to interfere with the antenna’s data transmission process to earth. Cassini will eventually malfunction and burn. It’s sad that NASA cannot save the vessel at this point but it sure has done a good job in as far as Space research, particularly Saturn’s exploration is concerned.
By NASA/JPL [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons