Today, the Cassini spacecraft will put an end to its 20-year mission and will burn into the atmosphere of Saturn. NASA will broadcast live the last moments of the device online.
Live broadcasting begins at 11:00 UTC. The last signal from Cassini is expected about 50-55 minutes later.
In fact, when the last signal comes to Earth, Cassini will no longer exist. The arrival of the signal from Saturn to Earth takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
Even in the last moments, Cassini will continue to work. Scientists hope the probe will collect information about the composition of Saturn’s atmosphere. However, the cameras will not work because the data transfer rate is only 30 kilobits per second and there will not be enough time to transfer even one picture. Therefore, it is better to use time to collect data from sensors.
The device will enter the atmosphere at a speed of 120,000 km / h, gradually starting to burn. This is because the fuel is over, and then scientists will not be able to keep the orbit around Saturn. Because they do not want to risk Cassini breaking into any of the moons on the planet and eventually infecting it with surviving Earth microbes, the apparatus must be completely destroyed.