NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn, ending 20-year journey

By Shawn Knight · 33 replies
Sep 15, 2017
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  1. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spent the last 13 years orbiting Saturn, arguably one of the most fascinating planets in our solar system (and even more so thanks to Cassini’s discoveries).

    Early Friday morning, however, the mission came to an end as the spacecraft plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere in a planned destruction.

    NASA launched its Cassini probe aboard a Titan IV rocket on October 15, 1997. It entered Saturn’s orbit on July 1, 2004, and also helped deliver the Huygens probe to Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons.

    The craft’s original mission was to only last four years – from June 2004 to May 2008 – but NASA ultimately extended it twice. As part of its “Grand Finale,” Cassini executed a number of risky passes between Saturn and its inner rings.

    Mike Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that most of what we have in science textbooks about Saturn comes from Cassini. The discoveries are so compelling, he added, that we have to go back.

    Spacecraft operations manager Julie Webster described Cassini as a perfect spacecraft, noting that it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

    NASA elected to intentionally destroy the spacecraft rather than let it drift aimlessly in space and risk crashing into one of Saturn’s moons as that might introduce biological agents the craft picked up on Earth.

    Cassini lost contact with Earth at 4:55 a.m. PDT.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,995   +2,477

    NASA has been running a string of successes with missions that go well beyond their intended length. The Mars Rover and Cassini are the latest examples. I wonder if Ford, Chevy, and GM are paying attention???
  3. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,562   +1,706

    General Motors IS Chevy. And if you want to talk about successes of those motor companies, then you can look at the ford 7.3 powerstroke that was killed by emissions regulations. Or GM has the LS series of motor which is considered the gold standard of engines. You also have their big and small block engines which are still used today and loved by hotrodders. For future reference, if you're going to make a low blow on a car company use Fiat/Crystler. They're actually know for getting people killed because of their transmission failures.

    Realistically, everything we hate about cars today has to emmisions and regulation. Keep that in mind when you can hide a rural school district in the blind spot created by your apex pillers.
    captaincranky and namesrejected like this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,225   +4,146

    So they wanted to introduce biological agents on Saturn instead of its moons. I can't comprehend their thinking on this one.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,562   +1,706

    There is so much radiation coming from Saturn's core that no life could exist in it's atmosphere
  6. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,913   +2,269

    This makes no sense. Who gives a F. if some earth microbes land on one of the Saturn's moon? How is it bad in any way to justify voluntarily spacecraft destruction? It is the most lame argument I've heard.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  7. Yagamizero

    Yagamizero TS Rookie

    I think Cassini had burned for the impact from atmosphere and probably moons don't have it.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,995   +2,477

    Naaaa baby ... out here we still build Rat Rods ..... silly boy!
  9. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,458   +508

    "arguably one of the most fascinating planets in our solar system" Who is going to argue that?

    I would have written: As fascinating as any planet...
  10. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Maniac Posts: 364   +232

    It's called The Scientific Method, sir. If we're studying the moons later, we don't want them contaminated. We don't want some loser claiming they found life on one when it was put there by us. Dropping it into Saturn's atmosphere torched the craft down to its component atoms, so there's not much chance any biota survived.
    EClyde likes this.
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,913   +2,269

    Yet nobody got "scientific" about bringing all microbes to Mars while searching for life at the same time. Sorry, but I can't seriously take it as an argument.
    namesrejected and EClyde like this.
  12. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +301

    Yea, it was a sad day when the 7.3 went. The company I work for had a whole fleet of them, but the guys the trucks are assigned to didn't make the connection that ( this thing has 500000 miles with little to no maintenance, maybe I should take care of it ). Instead they think ( its old, and I'm still driving this pos. Maybe if I treat it like **** then they will buy me a new truck ). So, I and 2 other guys are the only ones still driving 7.3, and the other guys got stuck with 6.0, 6.4 and now the 6.6 duramax in Chevy trucks. Regardless, the emissions have ruined the trucks, any new diesel truck you buy now is good to get 85000 before a $4000 job needs done to it, the 7.3 would go forever as long as you kept all your fluids good.

    What is really aggravating about it for me now is that the management get upset at me for still driving that old truck, they want me to get a new truck. I have told them " If you take the truck keys you can take the rest of my keys too. " I'm a mechanic, how embarrassing it would be if I broke down, and couldn't fix my truck.
  13. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +301

    Come on, really? After 20years in space without food or water any microbes would have been long gone. Your really buying into the BS aren't you? Its so blatantly obvious what is really going on here, they "greys" had a base on the planet, and Cassini was actually a highly advanced weapon to wipe out the base.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107

    Dear exalted Prince yRaz, it would appear that your servants, (who have so obviously typed this), are not anywhere near your golden mastery of prosaic excellence. (or spelling, for that matter).

    I have done the necessary proofreading, and emboldened that which I honestly believe, in my heart of hearts, to be in error, with the hope it will add to the magnificence of your communications abilities.

    On a lighter note, might I remind you, that a great majority of the fastest accelerating land vehicles on earth, (AA fuel dragsters, and, "funny cars"), are powered by derivatives of the ancient Chrysler Hemi motor of the 1960's?

    Of course, when you pump 8,000 to 11,000 BHP from these motors, they only last a quarter of a mile.:eek:

    Upon reflection, I suppose that does go to your reliability concerns regarding the brand...:oops:
    namesrejected likes this.
  15. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,562   +1,706

    When I wrote that I was drunk and on my phone so I'm surprised I did that well. On that note, I'm too hung over to clarify
    namesrejected likes this.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107

    But my sovereign, there is no need, I did it for you.
    namesrejected likes this.
  17. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,562   +1,706

    I truly am fortunate to have a servant like you, I'll remember that when I'm going through your credit card information
    namesrejected likes this.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107

    By that I expect you mean that you've finally earned that spot on the Equifax board of directors..(y) I feel it's a long over long overdue honor, befitting your long standing excellence in the banking industry....;)
    namesrejected likes this.
  19. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +301

    @ captaincranky
    @ yRaz

    Wow, I haven't seen such great friendship in a long time. Your friendship really brings a tear to my eye. I wish I had such friendships that I could trust the person with a knife to my back like you two have.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107


    "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,"

    My part, (self written), is the dupe, victimized by a ruthless "Nigerian Prince", and yRaz, is that very prince.

    The more I pretend to fall under the spell of his scam, worship at his feet if you will, the more outrageous this dark comedy becomes.

    It all began in a thread about how people fall under the influence of email social engineering scams. Ostensibly, the "good prince" and I are having a great laugh at the expense at the fools who have actually cut email scammers a check, "to restore a noble to his tribal throne".

    That's the back story as it were. No harm, no foul, no bad feelings, it's just a elaborate long standing, long running joke.

    BTW, the IRS is after you for back taxes, please call 1 800-555-5000 to make payment arrangements..;)
    yRaz and namesrejected like this.
  21. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +301

    The IRS will have to wait, I just sent every penny I had to a nephew of mine that seems to of gotten put in jail in Mexico ( I thought he was in CA though ). Oh, and I also had to max out my credit card because the nice Indian that works for " Windows " ?? Not Microsoft ?? needs it to get my computer unlocked. :p
    cliffordcooley and captaincranky like this.
  22. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,562   +1,706

    I don't really remember how it started, but it is one of my favorite on-going jokes. I'd really love it if techsopt could change my title from "techspot addict" to "Nigerian Prince"
    namesrejected and captaincranky like this.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107

    @yRaz, check your in prince.

    BTW, my credit score has risen to 385! I may need to avail myself of your generous credit availability and more than equitable terms in the near future.

    My first born is in the mail, on his way to you as collateral. He has a strong back, can carry much weight, plus withstand a good whipping, should that become necessary

    (Yeah I know, I was hoping for a girl too):oops:
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,225   +4,146

    You may be able to change it yourself in settings.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,646   +3,107

    Um Cliff, mine may be locked on "addict":....:oops: for several longstanding reasons...:eek:

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