Cassini's Grand Finale
A lone explorer, on a mission to reveal the grandeur of Saturn, its rings and moons.
After 20 years in space NASA's Cassini spacecraft is running out of fuel. And so, to protect moons of Saturn that could have conditions suitable for life, a spectacular end has been planned for this long-lived traveler from Earth.
In 2004, following a 7-year journey through the solar system, Cassini arrived at Saturn. The spacecraft carried a passenger, the European Huygens probe -- the first human-made object to land on a world in the distant outer solar system.
For over a decade, Cassini has shared the wonders of Saturn and its family of icy moons, taking us to astounding worlds where methane rivers run to a methane sea.
Where jets of ice and gas are blasting material into space from a liquid water ocean that might harbor the ingredients for life.
And Saturn -- a giant world ruled by raging storms and delicate harmonies of gravity.
Now, Cassini has one last, daring assignment.
Cassini's Grand Finale is a brand new adventure. Twenty-two dives through the space between Saturn and its rings. As it repeatedly braves this unexplored region, Cassini seeks new insights about the origins of the rings, and the nature of the planet's interior -- closer to Saturn than ever before.
On the final orbit, Cassini will plunge into Saturn fighting to keep its antenna pointed at Earth as it transmits its farewell.
In the skies of Saturn, the journey ends, as Cassini becomes part of the planet itself.
For more about the making of this video, including the science behind the imagery, see the feature at https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/3016/making-cassinis-grand-finale/