NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will crash into Saturn — its final screaming success

By Sarah Kaplan

In 10 days, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will nose-dive into Saturn and burn up in the planet’s atmosphere. It’s the final, suicidal step of a months-long dance through Saturn’s rings that has given scientists an unprecedented view of the sixth planet from the sun. It’s also the end of a mission that has revolutionized our understanding of Saturn and opened our eyes to two worlds that could be home to alien life — the moons Titan and Enceladus.

It really is the end of an era. And Cassini fans are devastated.

To understand why, you have to understand Cassini — a plucky, school-bus-size spacecraft that has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.

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