Unmanned Spacecraft To Finish Collecting Data This Friday — And Then Disintegrate

On Sept. 15, Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft will end its historic 20-year mission of exploring Saturn. In its “Grand Finale” phase, the spacecraft will enter Saturn’s atmosphere by passing through the gaps between the planet and its inner rings. It will continue to collect its last data before entering Saturn’s atmosphere — following which it will burn and disintegrate like a meteor.
The photos this contraption captured have been simply amazing. For example, this marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006.

Source: Photos
Photo: © NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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