How to Watch Cassini’s Plunge into Saturn

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is on final approach to Saturn, following confirmation by mission navigators that it is on course to dive into the planet’s atmosphere on Friday, Sept. 15.

Live mission commentary and video from JPL Mission Control will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website from 7 to 8:30 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. PDT) on Sept. 15. A post-mission news briefing from JPL is currently scheduled for 9:30 a.m. EDT (6:30 a.m. PDT), also on NASA TV.

A new NASA e-book, The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini, showcasing compelling images and key science discoveries from the mission, is available for free download in multiple formats at:

https://www.nasa.gov/ebooks

An online toolkit of information and resources about Cassini’s Grand Finale and final plunge into Saturn is available at:

https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/grandfinale

Follow the Cassini spacecraft’s plunge on social media using #GrandFinale, or visit:

https://twitter.com/CassiniSaturn

https://www.facebook.com/NASACassini

  • Obediah Headstrong

    But why plunge Cassini into Saturns atmosphere? Why not bring it into a safe orbit around one of Saturns moons so that it can remain there as a relict of man’s achievements which can be visited by sightseeing space tourists in the more distant future?

  • Aerospike

    And then some battery fails (explodes) or unvented fuels ignite, creating a cloud of debris and/or pushing Cassini out of that save orbit and we risk to contaminate some of Saturns moons with stuff that we brought with us.

  • Larry J

    There wasn’t enough propellant on board at any time to enter orbit around one of the moons, much less at the end of mission. Cassini just wasn’t designed for that. The last bits of propellant were used in an attempt to keep the antennas pointed at Earth for as long as possible as it plunged into the atmosphere.

  • IamGrimalkin

    Well, it could orbit a moon which isn’t a candidate for life.

    As someone said though, Cassini doesn’t have the fuel for that.