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cassini headed for saturn plunge after titan 'goodbye kiss'


after a "goodbye kiss" with saturn's huge moon titan, nasa's cassini spacecraft should now be on course for its suicide dive into the ringed planet friday (sept. 15). cassini zoomed within 73,974 miles (119,049 kilometers) of titan monday (sept. 11) in a flyby designed to lower the probe's orbit enough to ensure that it will crash into saturn's thick atmosphere as planned on friday, nasa officials said. monday's encounter was the last of more than 100 that cassini has had with titan since the spacecraft arrived in the saturn system on the night of june 30, 2004. [cassini's saturn crash 2017: how to watch its 'grand finale'] "cassini has been in a long-term relationship with titan, with a new rendezvous nearly every month for more than a decade," cassini project manager earl maize, of nasa'






nasa’s cassini saturn probe flies between saturn and its rings


cape canaveral, fla. -- nasa’s cassini spacecraft faced one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini flew past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize called it, pushed cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before - into the gap between saturn and its rings.it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings - even as small as a speck of sand - could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini made its first pass through the relatively narrow gap early wednesday, nasa said.twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been ex






last adventure for cassini: nasa’s spacecraft will dive into treacherous territo


cape canaveral, fla. — nasa’s cassini spacecraft faces one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini swings past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize calls it, will push cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings. it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini will make its first pass through the relatively narrow gap wednesday. twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been exploring






nasa’s cassini saturn probe flies between saturn and its rings


cape canaveral, fla. --nasa’s cassini spacecraft faced one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini flew past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize called it, pushed cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings.it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini made its first pass through the relatively narrow gap early wednesday, nasa said.twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.launched in 1997, cassini reached saturn in 2004 and has been exp






last adventure ahead for nasa’s cassini spacecraft at saturn


cape canaveral, fla. (ap) — nasa’s cassini spacecraft faces one last perilous adventure around saturn.cassini swings past saturn’s mega moon titan early saturday for a gravity-assisted, orbit-tweaking nudge.“that last kiss goodbye,” as project manager earl maize calls it, will push cassini onto a path no spacecraft has gone before — into the gap between saturn and its rings. it’s treacherous territory. a particle from the rings — even as small as a speck of sand — could cripple cassini, given its velocity.cassini will make its first pass through the relatively narrow gap wednesday. twenty-two crossings are planned, about one a week, until september, when cassini goes in and never comes out, vaporizing in saturn’s atmosphere.most read stories3-course dinners for $32 starting april 2.launche






1 more titan flyby before 'grand finale' at saturn


nasa's cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of saturn's moon titan this weekend in preparation for the mission's "grand finale," when it dives down into the planet itself.  cassini will reach its closest approach of 608 miles (979 kilometers) above titan's surface on april 22 at 2:08 a.m. edt (0608 gmt), according to a statement from nasa. during the encounter, cassini's radar instrument will capture up-close observations of titan's methane lakes and seas, as well as the moon's "magic islands" — mysterious features that scientists say may be caused by streams of bubbles.  this weekend's titan flyby sets the stage for cassini's grand finale on sept. 15, when the spacecraft will intentionally dive into saturn's atmosphere and end it's 13-year-long mission. but before cassini ta






1 more titan flyby before 'grand finale' at saturn


nasa's cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of saturn's moon titan this weekend in preparation for the mission's "grand finale," when it dives down into the planet itself.  cassini will reach its closest approach of 608 miles (979 kilometers) above titan's surface on april 22 at 2:08 a.m. edt (0608 gmt), according to a statement from nasa. during the encounter, cassini's radar instrument will capture up-close observations of titan's methane lakes and seas, as well as the moon's "magic islands" — mysterious features that scientists say may be caused by streams of bubbles.  this weekend's titan flyby sets the stage for cassini's grand finale on sept. 15, when the spacecraft will intentionally dive into saturn's atmosphere and end it's 13-year-long mission. but before cassini ta






wispy rings of clouds shine in new photo of saturn moon titan


wispy bands of methane clouds brighten saturn's big moon titan in a striking new image by nasa's cassini spacecraft.cassini took the newly released photo sunday (may 7), when it was about 316,000 miles (508,000 kilometers) from titan, nasa officials said. at the time, cassini was zooming toward saturn, getting ready for tuesday's (may 9) plunge between the gas giant's cloud tops and its innermost rings. the probe has now completed three of these dives, and will perform 19 more before its mission ends this september. [cassini's bird's-eye view of saturn plunge astonishes in video] the 3,200-mile-wide (5,150 km) titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, trailing only jupiter's satellite ganymede in girth. titan has a thick, nitrogen-dominated atmosphere and a hydrocarbon-based we






titan flyby assures cassini's crash into saturn


there's no turning back now for the cassini probe at saturn.  in the early morning hours of april 22, the cassini spacecraft at saturn made one last close flyby of titan, capturing a few final images of this hazy moon. the flyby altered the spacecraft's orbit in such a way that cassini will be unable to avoid crashing into saturn this september. cassini has been studying saturn and its moons since 2004, and is running low on fuel. for its final act, cassini is scheduled to make 22 dives between saturn and its rings, starting april 26. the spacecraft will then dive into saturn on sept. 15, transmitting for as long as possible to provide information about the gas giant's atmosphere.an unprocessed image of saturn's moon titan, captured by nasa's cassini spacecraft during its final close flyby






titan flyby assures cassini's crash into saturn


there's no turning back now for the cassini probe at saturn.  in the early morning hours of april 22, the cassini spacecraft at saturn made one last close flyby of titan, capturing a few final images of this hazy moon. the flyby altered the spacecraft's orbit in such a way that cassini will be unable to avoid crashing into saturn this september. cassini has been studying saturn and its moons since 2004, and is running low on fuel. for its final act, cassini is scheduled to make 22 dives between saturn and its rings, starting april 26. the spacecraft will then dive into saturn on sept. 15, transmitting for as long as possible to provide information about the gas giant's atmosphere. "with this flyby [of titan], we're committed to the grand finale," said earl maize, cassini project manager at






cassini probe sets up saturn 'grand finale'


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionearl maize: "we can't leave cassini in an uncontrolled orbit near saturn"cassini is about to use a slingshot around saturn's moon titan to put it on a path towards destruction. saturday's flyby will sweep the probe into an orbit that takes it in between the planet's rings and its atmosphere. this gap-run gives the satellite the chance finally to work out the length of a day on saturn and also to figure out the age of its stunning rings. but the manoeuvre means also that it cannot escape a fiery plunge into saturn's clouds in september. the us space agency (nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty. controllers cannot risk an unresponsive satellite






cassini probe sets up saturn 'grand finale'


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionearl maize: "we can't leave cassini in an uncontrolled orbit near saturn"cassini is in the midst of using a slingshot around saturn's moon titan to put it on a path towards destruction. saturday's flyby will sweep the probe into an orbit that takes it in between the planet's rings and its atmosphere. this gap-run gives the satellite the chance finally to work out the length of a day on saturn and also to figure out the age of its stunning rings. but the manoeuvre means also that it cannot escape a fiery plunge into saturn's clouds in september. the us space agency (nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty. controllers cannot risk an unresponsive






cassini probe heads towards saturn 'grand finale'


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionearl maize: "we can't leave cassini in an uncontrolled orbit near saturn"cassini has used a gravitational slingshot around saturn's moon titan to put it on a path towards destruction. saturday's flyby swept the probe into an orbit that takes it in between the planet's rings and its atmosphere. this gap-run gives the satellite the chance finally to work out the length of a day on saturn, and to determine the age of its stunning rings. but the manoeuvre means also that it cannot escape a fiery plunge into saturn's clouds in september. the us space agency (nasa) is calling an end to 12 years of exploration and discovery at saturn because the probe's propellant tanks are all but empty. controllers cannot risk an unresponsive satellite on






cassini saturnian exploration | | al jazeera


an unmanned nasa spacecraft, cassini, is poised to plunge into the gap between saturn and its rings, a pioneering journey that could offer an unprecedented view of the sixth planet from the sun.cassini is a 20-year-old joint mission of nasa, the european space agency, and the italian space agency.the 6.7-metre spacecraft launched in 1997, back when bill clinton was president, and began orbiting saturn in 2004.cassini's latest adventure is a swansong for the spacecraft, as it is running low on fuel, and will make a death plunge into saturn's atmosphere on september 15.






epic cassini saturn mission begins 'grand finale' this month


nasa's veteran cassini mission will officially kick off its farewell tour of the saturn system on april 22 with a final close encounter of the ringed planet's largest moon, titan. then, on sept. 15, cassini will burn up in saturn's atmosphere.






gorgeous cassini photo shows start of new day


this is what dawn on saturn looks like, from afar. the ringed planet is partly hidden in darkness and partly illuminated by the faint light of a distant sun in a gorgeous photo taken by nasa's cassini spacecraft. "the light has traveled around 80 minutes since it left the sun's surface by the time it reaches saturn," nasa officials wrote in a description of the image, which was released yesterday (july 10). "the illumination it provides is feeble; earth gets 100 times the intensity, since it's roughly 10 times closer to the sun. yet compared to the deep blackness of space, everything at saturn still shines bright in the sunlight, be it direct or reflected."[cassini's saturn 'grand finale' plan in pictures] cassini took the photo on feb. 25, at a distance of about 762,000 miles (1.23 millio






nasa’s cassini spacecraft set for final act, plunge into saturn


cassini will finally take a leap into some of the only territory it has yet to explore: the gap between saturn and its rings.       






nasa’s cassini spacecraft set for final act, deadly plunge into saturn


cassini will finally take a leap into some of the only territory it has yet to explore: the gap between saturn and its rings.       






cassini spacecraft to dive inside saturn’s rings for mission finale


nasa is preparing to send its long-lived cassini probe into the unexplored region between saturn and its rings for a scientific grand finale before the spacecraft’s suicidal plunge into the planet, space officials said on tuesday.since arriving at saturn in july 2004, cassini has been exploring the giant planet and its entourage of 62 known moons, including enigmatic titan, believed by scientists to resemble an early earth, and the ocean-bearing moon enceladus, which is shooting ice particles out into space.to avoid any chance that hitchhiking earth microbes still alive on cassini could contaminate any potential living organisms on enceladus, nasa plans to crash the spacecraft, which is running out of fuel, into saturn on sept. 15.but before its demise, cassini has one last mission. on apr






a look back at the doomed probe's most stunning saturn pictures


photo of saturn by cassini, taken on december 18, 2012. (image: nasa)alas, all good things must come to an end. today, nasa will announce the details regarding its cassini spacecraft’s grand finale—a resplendent ending to its 20-year-long adventure in space, which will begin later this month. from late april to september 15th, cassini will perform 22 dramatic dives between saturn and its rings. then, the brave little orbiter will plunge itself into saturn’s atmosphere and burn up like a meteor—all while sending information back to earth.advertisementthe orbiter, which launched on october 15th, 1997, reached the saturn system in 2004. since then, it’s beamed back countless gigabytes of data and breathtaking photos, enabling the publication of more than 3,000 scientific reports, according to






a look back at the doomed probe's most stunning saturn pictures


photo of saturn by cassini, taken on december 18, 2012. (image: nasa)alas, all good things must come to an end. today, nasa will announce the details regarding its cassini spacecraft’s grand finale—a resplendent ending to its 20-year-long adventure in space, which will begin later this month. from late april to september 15th, cassini will perform 22 dramatic dives between saturn and its rings. then, the brave little orbiter will plunge itself into saturn’s atmosphere and burn up like a meteor—all while sending information back to earth.advertisementthe orbiter, which launched on october 15th, 1997, reached the saturn system in 2004. since then, it’s beamed back countless gigabytes of data and breathtaking photos, enabling the publication of more than 3,000 scientific reports, according to






no end to saturn's mysteries in cassini's closing days


scientists are preparing for a bountiful harvest of science data when the cassini probe makes its final death plunge into saturn's atmosphere.






sunlight floods saturn moon titan's north (photo)


methane clouds cruise above hydrocarbon seas in a gorgeous new photo of the huge saturn moon titan captured by nasa's cassini spacecraft. the image is a summer postcard: cassini took it on june 9, a little over two weeks after northern summer arrived in the saturn system. the dark seas visible in the newly released photo lie near titan's north pole and were shrouded in darkness for part of cassini's mission. (it takes saturn 29.5 earth years to orbit the sun, so seasons on the ringed planet, and on titan, last nearly 7.5 years.) cassini was about 315,000 miles (507,000 kilometers) from titan when it snapped the picture, nasa officials said. [check out more awesome cassini photos of titan] at 3,200 miles wide (5,150 km), titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, behind the jovia






cassini's saturn crash 2017 – how to watch its 'grand finale'


the cassini spacecraft is set to pull off its final mission after 20 years in space, collecting data as it crashes into saturn’s atmosphere. read all about cassini's "grand finale" and its sept. 15 suicide plunge.






happy anniversary, cassini! nasa probe marks 13 years at saturn


nasa's cassini probe has now been circling saturn for 13 years.cassini arrived in orbit around the ringed planet on the night of june 30, 2004 (july 1 gmt), after a nearly seven-year journey through deep space. that trip, which kicked off with a launch atop a titan ivb rocket on oct. 15, 1997, covered a total of 2.2 billion miles (3.5 billion kilometers), nasa officials have said. the journey featured venus flybys in april 1998 and june 1999, an earth encounter in august 1999, and a jupiter flyby in december 2000. about six months after arriving in the saturn system, the piggyback huygens lander separated from the cassini mothership and headed for titan, the ringed planet's largest moon. on jan. 14, 2015, huygens pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on a world in the outer solar system






cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures


after 13 years of orbiting saturn, nasa's cassini spacecraft will take a suicidal plunge into the planet on sept. 17, 2017.






cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn: nasa's plan in pictures


after 13 years of orbiting saturn, nasa's cassini spacecraft will take a suicidal plunge into the planet on sept. 15, 2017.






here's how the probe will spend its final days


the one-week countdown has begun for the cassini spacecraft's fatal dive into saturn's atmosphere.  on sept. 15, cassini will dive straight into saturn, collecting in-situ data from the planet's atmosphere and firing it back to earth in the 1 to 2 minutes before breaking apart. the dive will bring a dramatic end to the probe's 13-year tenure in the saturnian system, where it has unearthed many incredible and unexpected science discoveries.  this coming week is filled with activity for cassini. check out our complete coverage page for a full schedule of events and how to watch them. [cassini's "grand finale" at saturn in pictures] on saturday (sept. 9), the probe will make the last of its 22 dives through saturn's rings — a flight path that has produced some incredible views. this view of s






cassini-huygens: exploring saturn's system


the cassini spacecraft has been orbiting saturn since 2004. the mission is known for discoveries such as finding jets of water erupting from enceladus, and tracking down a few new moons for saturn. now low on fuel, the spacecraft will make a suicidal plunge into the ringed planet in 2017 and capture some data about saturn's interior on the way. (this will avoid the possibility of cassini crashing someday onto a potentially habitable icy moon, such as enceladus or rhea.) the ambitious mission is a joint project among several space agencies, which is a contrast from the large nasa probes of the past such as pioneer and voyager. in this case, the main participants are nasa, the european space agency and agenzia spaziale italiana (the italian space agency). development history cassini is the f






cassini makes 8th dive through saturn's rings


the cassini spacecraft has made its eighth dive between saturn and its rings, documenting the planetary system up close as it prepares for its grand finale plunge into the gas giant on sept. 15.






wow! cassini's bird's-eye view of saturn plunge astonishes in new video


an amazing new video shows just what nasa's cassini spacecraft saw during its first "grand finale" plunge between saturn's cloud tops and the gas giant's rings last week. the new saturn dive video captures about an hour of cassini observations on april 26, starting near the planet's north polar vortex, and the bizarre hexagonal jet stream that surrounds it, and heading south from there. "i was surprised to see so many sharp edges along the hexagon's outer boundary and the eye-wall of the polar vortex," cassini imaging team associate kunio sayanagi, who's based at hampton university in virginia, said in a statement. [cassini's ring-diving risks & rewards at saturn (video)]a view of the vortex at saturn's north pole, captured by nasa’s cassini spacecraft during its first “grand finale” plung






cassini’s grand finale: a dive between saturn and its rings


cassini will penetrate the narrow gap between saturn and its innermost ring about once a week until sept. 15, when it will crash into saturn and be incinerated.the cassini spacecraft is about to begin its great cosmic swan dive.on saturday morning, the spacecraft, which has been circling saturn and its environs for the past 13 years, will skim over the hazes of titan, the ringed planet’s biggest moon. titan’s gravity will reach out and pull cassini onto a new path, downward into the narrow gap between saturn and its innermost ring, where no human artifact has ever gone.cassini will penetrate that formerly inviolate space not once but 22 times, about once a week until sept. 15, when it will crash into saturn and be incinerated. this summer then is the last hurrah for cassini and the team th






goodbye, mimas! saturn moon stuns in cassini's final photo shoot


the cassini spacecraft snagged a final close-up view of saturn's smallest major moon, mimas, as it nears the end of its exploration mission at the ringed planet. cassini flew just 25,620 miles (41,230 kilometers) from the pockmarked moon jan. 30, on the spacecraft's seventh and final flyby of the moon. due to a massive crater on one side, mimas is known as the "death star" moon — but this time, that crater is out of view. (another recent cassini photo, from a november flyby, highlights the giant herschel crater.) during the flyby, cassini captured 10 images from about 28,000 miles (45,000 km) away that were combined into a mosaic. more than half the moon was lit only by reflected light from saturn — one image has that side enhanced, to give a fuller view of the moon, and the other leaves i






watch live now! nasa previews cassini's 'grand finale' at saturn


nasa scientists will meet the press today (april 4) at 3 p.m. edt (1900 gmt) in a news conference that will preview the beginning of the cassini spacecraft's "grand finale" at saturn. the mission's end stage begins in april. you can watch the press conference live in the window below, courtesy of nasa.from nasa:  "nasa will hold a news conference at noon pdt (3 p.m. edt) tuesday, april 4, at the agency's jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california, to preview the beginning of cassini's final mission segment, known as the grand finale, which begins in late april. the briefing will air live on nasa television and the agency's website. "cassini has been orbiting saturn since june 2004, studying the planet, its rings and its moons. a final close flyby of saturn's moon titan on april 22 w






see earth through saturn's rings in amazing cassini photo


the cassini spacecraft spotted earth as a bright speck (and the moon as a smaller speck) between saturn's broad rings as the craft prepares for its final dive into the ringed planet's atmosphere. cassini was 870 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) from earth the night of april 12-13 when it snapped this photo, which shows earth — and the even tinier moon, a faint dot to its left — framed between the icy rings of saturn. at the time the photo was taken, the southern atlantic ocean was facing the spacecraft's lens, nasa officials said in a statement.nasa's cassini spacecraft captured this photo of earth from saturn at 1:41 a.m. edt april 13 (0541 gmt, or 10:41 p.m. pdt on april 12) from 870 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) away. at the time, the part of earth facing cassini was the






space webcasts: nasa previews cassini's grand finale at saturn


with just two weeks left before nasa's cassini spacecraft will execute its epic suicide plunge into saturn, nasa scientists are hosting a teleconference to talk about some of the spacecraft's final science objectives and operations.






iraqi forces discover chemical warfare agent in mosul


mosul, iraq (ap) — iraqi forces discovered a mustard chemical warfare agent in eastern mosul alongside a cache of russian surface-to-surface missiles, an iraqi officer said urday.iraqi and u.s. officials have repeatedly warned of islamic state group efforts to develop chemical weapons. when iraqi forces retook mosul university earlier this month, they found chemistry labs they believed had been converted into makeshift chemical weapons labs.iraqi special forces brig. gen. haider fadhil said french officials tested the mosul chemical this week and confirmed it was a mustard agent. fadhil did not specify the quantity or potency of the chemical, but iraqi soldiers were able to visit the site for about ten minutes without exhibiting any symptoms of exposure.“we know that they were using this p