Spacecraft NASA Cassini launched an unprecedented series of satellite dives in the icy rings of Saturn at the conclusion of its 20-year mission.
An unmanned probe changed the trajectory, allowing him to make the maneuver through the gap in the 1,500 miles between the planet and its rings at maximum speed of more than 76 800 miles per hour (120 000 km / h). Because the region has never been studied previously, the team Cassini uses as a shield the antenna Cup-like shape of the ship to protect it from debris until it swims past the rings. This means that it will not be in contact with the Ground during the dive.
The probe will follow around Saturn and to collect rich scientific data, giving scientists clues to help explain the evolution of giant planets and planetary systems. Astronomers hope to use the collected information to create detailed maps of gravity and magnetic fields of Saturn, enabling them to understand the mystery of how fast Saturn rotates.
The final mission immersion can also show the origin of the rings, as well as provide valuable and detailed photos.
"The spacecraft Cassini is now on a ballistic trajectory, so that even if we spend a small course correction engine, we will still enter the atmosphere of Saturn on September 15, no matter what," said Earl Maiz, project Manager for Cassini at Jet NASA (JPL), in a statement. Shortly before impact, Cassini will issue a final signal which is received on Earth in just over an hour later.
Twice the Cassini mission was extended in 2008 and 2010 - but now the probe is running on low fuel rockets. The deliberate assumption that the ship will burn up in the atmosphere of Saturn, reduces the risk of damage to one of Saturn's moons, if scientists lose the ability to control it enough to prevent a collision.
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