Farewell Cassini. After 13 years orbiting Saturn, the little spacecraft has sent its final broadcast. At 7:55 a.m. ET on Sept. 15, Cassini descended into Saturn’s atmosphere, breaking up and dissolving into space.

Cassini left Earth’s orbit in 1997 on a four-year mission that was extended twice until it ended early this morning. The mission was to explore all aspects of Saturn, including its rings and its moons. Of particular interest was the discovery that Enceladus, one of Saturn’s revolving moons, was not a barren icy wasteland — it actually spewed organic material from what scientists believe could be a subsurface ocean.

The spacecraft also allowed scientists to get a close and detailed look at the ring system of the planet.

But what was truly special about this spacecraft and its mission was how it got everyone interested in exploration and discovery. Kids, teens, and even adults watched the mission with growing interest, thirsty for just one more picture of the mysterious moons and rings or Saturn.

Unfortunately, in order to avoid contaminating those same moons, especially Enceladus, which now is believed to contained Earth-like microbes, NASA scientists made the decision to terminate the mission and let Cassini dive into the atmosphere.

Here are some of the images broadcast from Cassini’s twitter over the last month during the final goodbye trip:

 

What was your favourite discovery? Let us know in the comments below!

Author

Katherine DeClerq is the editor of Women's Post. Her previous writing experience includes the Toronto Star, Maclean's Magazine, CTVNews, and BlogTO. She can often be found at a coffee shop with her MacBook computer. Despite what CP says, she is a fan of the Oxford comma.

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