THE DAILY MAIL – SHIVALI BEST, CHEYENNE MACDONALD, TIM COLLINS AND PHOEBE WESTON
After 20 years in space, Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft has finally completed its suicide mission, plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere.
While we were unable to see Cassini’s dying moments, an animation released by Nasa reconstructs the probe’s last few minutes as it tumbled through Saturn’s atmosphere at 77,000mph.
The confirmation of the mission was received at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion unit at 07:56 EST (12:56 BST) today.
Upon receiving the news, Earl Maize, program manager for Cassini, announced: ‘The signal from the spacecraft has gone. Congratulations, this has been an incredible mission and incredible spacecraft.’
In its thirteen years at Saturn and two decades in space, the $4 billion (£3 billion) Cassini probe has transformed our understanding of the ringed planet and its moons.
It has watched giant storms on the gas giant, recorded its ring system in stunning detail, and revealed incredible new insights on the potential habitability of Saturn’s moons.