Aug 19, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

Saturn's Cassini Spacecraft Bids ‘Bittersweet’ Goodbye After Titan’s Methane, Enceladus’ Plumes Discovery & More

Apr 27, 2017 06:51 PM EDT

Close

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft had been of service to scientists since it was launched and had achieved many discoveries and wonders about the ringed planet. However, it is scheduled to crash on Saturn’s atmosphere as its ends its mission on Sept 15.

According to Phys.Org, mission had been first launched in 1997 and had reached Saturn in 2014. The Cassini spacecraft which is equipped with the UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) instrument had made notable discoveries about the ringed-planet up until now. UVIS which studied the every angle of Saturn’s rings was designed and built by a team at CU Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

Professor Larry Esposito, principal investigator of UVIS then noted that Saturn’s rings had always been there and was likely formed when the solar system was still forming for some time like 4.6 billion years ago. "We see extensive, rapid recycling of ring material in which moons are continually shattered into ring particles, which then gather and reform moons," he stated as an evidence of Saturn’s rings long existence.

CU Boulder had achieved the discoveries in Saturn through the aid of UVIS. UVIS was stated to have detected the microscopic grains of dust essential in making scientists believe that there are hydrothermal geysers beneath Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. Cassini with UVIS also discovered methane lakes on its icy moon, Titan.

However, Saturn’s Cassini spacecraft is set to say farewell already. The spacecraft had already made its initial dive last April 23 on Saturn’s outermost rings as one of its scheduled 22 dives. But of course, it flew past through its Titan moon. The unmanned Cassini spacecraft is then scheduled to crash on Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15 as its final ring dive. As soon as its fuel is used up, it will vaporize per Daily Camera.

Nonetheless, Esposito noted that between now and Cassini’s finale on Sept.15, there would still be a lot of discoveries. "But September 15 will be a bittersweet ending to a mission that has fascinated us as scientists and enthralled the public with images and new findings for many years," he concluded.

©2017 ScienceTimes.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science times.
Real Time Analytics