Cassini-Huygens is an unmanned space probe that launched into space in the year of 1997. It took almost seven years for the spacecraft to reach Saturn. Since then, the equipment started analyzing the planet and its natural satellites. However, after a life-long mission, the U.S. space agency sees no other solution than to destroy the $3.26 billion asset for good.
Scientists Don’t Wat the Space Probe to Contaminate a Possible Alien Culture
It is settled. On September 15th, 2017, the Cassini space probe is scheduled for self-destruction. The announcement took place during a press conference on NASA on April 4th. Scientists explained the reason behind this sudden decision. They named the event as the Grand Finale. The termination will use the remaining fuel of the probe to propel it into a fatal collision with Saturn.
The agent that decided Cassini’s fate was its own discovery. In October 2015, the space probe analyzed the surface of one of Saturn’s many moons, Enceladus. It eventually turned out that the object was hosting a liquid composition that resembled that of an ocean. The natural element lied under a thick layer of ice and vapor. Scientists believe that this fortuitous discovery is the first contact with an alien world.
On September 15th, 2017, Cassini Will Collide with Saturn
One of the managers of the Cassini project, Earl Maize, stated that NASA cannot let the spacecraft interfere with such a potential yet a virgin territory. Thus, they need to orchestrate an artificial end for the probe. As Cassini has a small amount of fuel left, it cannot return home. As a consequence, scientists decided to end its mission in the region it was meant for in the first place, namely Saturn.
“Cassini has got to be put safely away. And since we wanted to stay at Saturn, the only choice was to destroy it in some controlled fashion.”
This means that scientists will schedule the last mission for Cassini spacecraft. It will also be its last one. On the day of September 15th, 2017, the space probe will be set to collide with the surface of Saturn. However, its final mission will not be for anything. Earl Maize together with a team of scientists from 19 countries is going to record each byte of data that they receive from the robot.
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