Cassini, The Grand Finale

Saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

The article I read was about how the Cassini, the 22-foot-tall spacecraft that launched in 1997 and began orbiting Saturn in 2004, had almost lost power so the astronauts decided to use its last bit of energy to get it to crash because they wouldn’t want it if they couldn’t use it. They used the Cassini to take photos of Saturn because when the astronauts used the Cassini ,they couldn’t go to Saturn on their own. They didn’t have the right technology so they had the Cassini take pictures of Saturn and send them back to the astronauts. Back in 1997 when many of the people stuck on Earth were sitting in their living rooms watching TV, NASA was hard at work launching the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini’s last destination was Saturn which is the sixth planet in our solar system. Although Cassini was not the first spacecraft to explore Saturn, its mission was certainly the longest and hardest, the Cassini had to take pictures of Saturn. During Cassini’s 20 year mission, it traveled more than 4.9 billion miles, completed 2.5 million commands, and sent back over 635 GB of data to Earth for scientists to study. The Cassini mission was a  project that involved 27 different countries.      

This week NASA gave its final command to Cassini which instructed the spacecraft to crash into Saturn’s atmosphere at over 78,000 miles per hour. Cassini continued to send back useful information about the planet’s atmosphere and changes until the very last minute. The last message was received by the NASA team on September 15, 2017 at 7:55am (EST). This information will be studied by the NASA team for many months to come. The  scientists said goodbye to Cassini with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

This article represents the last experiment in a 20 year long project that advanced our understanding of the planet Saturn.  This is breaking news because the Cassini spacecraft executed its last mission very recently, on September 15, 2017. This changes the way we look at our old evidence because the last mission for the spacecraft was to enter Saturn’s atmosphere for the first time.  The data from this mission was sent back to the scientist for analysis. This data will help advance our understanding of the planet. I choose this article because I was thinking about when we did the project with all the planets at the end of third grade. The Cassini is important to the world because it lets the world know what the Cassini has accomplished during its time in existence. This relates to the project we did at the end of third grade where we got to pick a planet answer a few questions about the planet you chose, and then water color it.

By Mia 4M

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