After 20 years in space, on September 15, 2017 one of the most successful missions in the history of space exploration will come to an end: The Cassini- Huygens Mission to Saturn. Cassini has brought us hundreds of thousands of breathtaking images… and made countless groundbreaking discoveries.
These days the spacecraft is on its last and most daring mission. Between April and September 2017 it is making twenty-two daring dives between Saturn’s atmosphere and its inner most ring. No spacecraft has ventured in this unknown region making each dive dangerous, each one a risk. But for the more than five thousand scientists– from nineteen countries– who have worked on this mission it is the chance of a lifetime to finally look “inside” the gas giant and make discoveries that could revolutionize our understanding of how Saturn, and the solar system, formed.
NOVA was there when Cassini took its first dive back in April and is following the Cassini team as they make new discoveries. In September, NOVA will be there for its final moments. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory hundreds of team members will gather to say goodbye to their beloved spacecraft.