Apr 06, 2017 07:02 PM EDT
Planet Saturn is going to be the grave for one of NASA's best spacecraft, the Cassini. The official press release described how Cassini is going to dip into the Saturn atmosphere, break apart, melt, and vaporize. This violent end for the spacecraft is calling it quits after 20 years since Cassini left Earth and did 22 laps through the uncharted space.
NASA's best spacecraft provided the world with valuable information about Saturn, its rings, moons, and other celestial bodies. While putting a period in its stellar career may seem a harsh way to show gratitude, Popular Science said that it is necessary. Cassini will simply become a collateral damage in humankind's quest to explore the space.
When the space probe Dawn plotted the dwarf planet Ceres, NASA allowed it to keep orbiting its target after it achieved its goals. So why then that the best spacecraft of NASA needs to be obliterated? Why can't NASA allow Cassini to orbit in perpetuity around Saturn?
Comparably, Ceres has no other cosmic body that orbits around it so spacecraft Dawn can provide no obstruction. On the contrary, Saturn has 62 known satellites and moons plus there is a possibility that there are more. These cosmic bodies are constantly messing with Cassini's path and it is corrected by bursting fuel. Unfortunately, the best spacecraft known to humans is burning out its fuel.
Should Cassini orbit around Saturn without fuel to correct its path, scientists fear that it might collide with Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus. These two satellites are especially valuable since NASA found out that they have subsurface water and might support life.
While Cassini is still controllable with its little fuel, NASA knows that they should conduct a euthanasia. Cassini will be buried in Saturn's atmosphere with full honors as the best spacecraft there is. At any rate, Cassini is still going to provide information and feed data to NASA even at the very last seconds of its life.
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