While Cassini's 20-year mission has been "a serious success", according to Picardo, the opera is definitely a comedy.
Cassini's end is also compounded by the fact that, aside from an orbiter that will study Jupiter's moon Europa, NASA has no missions on the books to distant horizons like Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus in the future.
As Cassini Nears the End Take a Look at 20 Years of Images Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology
The dive that Cassini is now performing is the very last part of its Grand Finale which included 22 spectacular dives through Saturn's iconic rings. Its fuel exhausted, its missions to explore Saturn and its moons triumphantly fulfilled, the two-and-a-half-ton vehicle will burn up as it falls into the red planet's atmosphere. The risky substance was encased in super-dense iridium as a safeguard for Cassini's 1997 launch and has been used for electric power to run its instruments.
"We'll be saddened, there's no doubt about it, at the loss of such an incredible machine", Maize said. Cassini's fuel tank is nearly empty, and its objectives have been accomplished many times over since its 2004 arrival at Saturn following a seven-year journey.
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"We see extensive, rapid recycling of ring material in which moons are continually shattered into ring particles, which then gather and reform moons". So researchers decided that the spacecraft must be destroyed.
An illustration of NASA's Cassini spacecraft flying through the water plumes of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. "It will radiate across the solar system for almost an hour and a half after Cassini itself has gone". They are named for 17th-century astronomers, Italian Giovanni Domenico Cassini and Dutch Christiaan Huygens, who spotted Saturn's first moon, Titan. "Cassini pioneered that whole concept", Jim Green, head of NASA's planetary science division director, said at the news conference.
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The space agency will begin live video coverage of Cassini's death on Friday starting at 7 a.m. EDT. However, it will show an animation of Cassini's position.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory-managed Cassini spacecraft was on its final approach Wednesday toward Saturn - and its ultimate doom. LASP students control four NASA satellites from campus, and about 120 undergraduate and graduate students working are there on different aspects of flight projects, ranging from engineering and spacecraft operations to data management and science analysis.
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After Congress failed to repeal the ACA this summer, Deal said his cabinet was "exploring" new health-care options. In 2016, non-Hispanic Whites had the lowest uninsured rate among race and Hispanic origin groups, at 6.3 percent.