Cassini - The Grand Finale
After two decades in space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is nearing the end of its remarkable journey of exploration. Having expended almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators are deliberately plunging Cassini into the planet to ensure Saturn's moons will remain pristine for future exploration—in particular, the ice-covered, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, but also Titan, with its intriguing pre-biotic chemistry.
On Sept. 15, 2017, the spacecraft will make its final approach to the giant planet Saturn. But this encounter will be like no other. This time, Cassini will dive into the planet's atmosphere, sending science data for as long as its small thrusters can keep the spacecraft's antenna pointed at Earth. Soon after, Cassini will burn up and disintegrate like a meteor.
For more information visit https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/.
The UA's Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium will offer "Saturn Weekend: The Grand Finale of the Cassini Mission" on Sept. 15-17.
Flandrau will present a special show, "Touring the Solar System: Saturn Edition," focusing on the ringed planet and its moons, at 6 p.m. Friday, 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Former Cassini team member Bashar Rizk will be present to take questions after the Sunday show. Flandrau also will have educational games and hands-on activities related to Saturn, including a ring toss and a build-your-own-spacecraft activity. For more information about Saturn Weekend: flandrau.org To see some of the Cassini mission's most spectacular images, visit the Cassini Hall of Fame.