On Sept. 15, 2017, Cassini plunged into Saturn, ending its 20-year mission of discovery.
Transcript:Systems, ACS One. We've just had transition to high-rate mode, and we are in the atmosphere.
Radio signal still holding. 30 seconds.
Spacecraft has just crossed 10 degrees, North latitude. Altitude 1,000 miles.
Copy. Thank you.
Okay, we call loss of signal at 115546.
Earl Maize: We just heard the signal from the spacecraft is gone and within the next 45 seconds so will be the space craft. I hope you're all as deeply proud of this amazing accomplishment. Congratulations to you all. This has been an incredible mission, an incredible space craft, and you're all an incredible team. I'm going to call this the end of mission. Project manager off the net.
Thomas Zurbuchen: While we're here to discuss a magnificent mission that had an amazing end, there it is, this is Cassini. Next Picture. This is also Cassini. That's ...
Linda Spilker: When I look back over the Cassini mission, I see a mission that was running a 13-year marathon of scientific discovery, and this last orbit was just the last lap, and so we stood in celebration of successfully completing the race. This is a view in the infrared of five microns. You can see the heat energy coming out of Saturn, and this is the place where Cassini took its final plunge.
Michael Watkins: Not an end, but really a beginning, and the discoveries that Cassini has made over the past 13 years in orbit have rewritten the textbooks of Saturn, have discovered words that could be habitable, and have guaranteed that we will return to that ringed world.