Cassini spacecraft of NASA is on the run of an unprecedented series making space dives. This will result in Cassini's mark through the icy rings of Saturn, in the last phase of a 20-year mission.
Cassini was launched back in October 1997 with collaboration from the European Space Agency. It is named after Giovanni Cassini, an astronomer from the 17th century. When it was launched, the world was a different place as compared to now, and Donald Trump was a celebrity then, not a politician.
One of NASA's most successful mission in last decade, Cassini mission to Saturn has proved fruitful for the NASA. Just like all good things, this mission is also closing towards its ends. NASA revealed that Cassini is running out of fuel and therefore NASA planned something spectacular for its grand finale for its long-running mission.
Cassini is supposed to conduct a series of dangerous orbits over next few months that will result in taking Cassini to a place; no other spacecraft has ever been before: between Saturn and its rings.
A report from NASA said, "On Saturday, Cassini passed the point of no return as it flew past Saturn's moon Titan, which altered the spacecraft's trajectory enough to fling it inside Saturn's rings. Cassini is now on a long and unavoidable collision course with the planet Saturn in September, following 22 passes through Saturn's ring system in the coming months."
Cassini entered Saturn's ring on April 26 Wednesday, for the first time following the Titan flyby. Scientists are not aware of the amount of dust and debris that lies between Saturn and its inner rings, and therefore this is a risky mission. If it turns out to be more than predicted, then Cassini might be damaged or even destroyed.
According to NASA, "Cassini will make 22 total flybys of Saturn, including the one on Wednesday, before finally falling into the planet on September 15. Cassini will keep recording and transmitting data until the last possible moment, to ensure we get the most out of this incredible mission to Saturn."
Cassini is flying through the rings of Saturn, but NASA has currently lost contact with the spacecraft. It is currently out of contact and Scientists and Engineers are waiting to make sure whether the little spacecraft survived its first space dive out of the planned 22 through the edges of Saturn's atmosphere. They will have to wait for one full day before they can know anything.
This dive was the first mark in the grand finale of Cassini which is scheduled till it is destroyed by its own atmosphere before flying ever closer to Saturn. Each of these dives are dangerous and will result in damage to the spacecraft or destruction of the Cassini.