After orbiting Saturn for 13 years, Cassini has become part of the planet


The Cassini spacecraft, after spending 13 nearly flawless years revealing a complex, ringed gas giant along with its extensive array of enigmatic moons—and finding two worlds capable of supporting life—died on Friday morning. It expired after setting its engines on full thrust and flying directly into the maw of Saturn. It was 19 years old.

The spacecraft made its final significant maneuver on Monday, flying near enough to Saturn's largest moon Titan to nudge Cassini into a collision course with the planet. Cassini took its final image on Thursday and on Friday morning began accelerating to more than 140,000km/hour. There was no return.

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