NASA’s Cassini Probe Prepares to Crash Into Saturn
That’s a wrap. Completing a 13-year mission to Saturn and its moons, Cassini will plunge into the massive planet Friday morning in a spectacle that may be visible through telescopes on Earth, 930 million miles away. The nuclear-powered spacecraft, launched in 1997, was a joint project by NASA and the European and Italian space agencies. Extending the $3.26 billion mission until Cassini lost power wasn’t an option: That would’ve risked crashing the probe and its earthly bacteria into two moons that could potentially harbor extraterrestrial life.