Suicide mission reveals age of rings
The Cassini probe makes the headlines throughout the world on 15 September 2017, when the probe ends its 13 year mission around Saturn and its largest moons.
Over the years, the Cassini probe has ensured a series of magnificent recordings including up to 500-km-high geysers on the Enceladus ice moon, severe storms in Saturn’s atmosphere, and surging methane oceans on Titan. Cassini brings the Huygens lander, which in 2005 lands on Titan as the first – and so far only – craft to land on a world in the outer Solar System.
In a grand finale, Cassini in April 2017 dives under Saturn’s innermost rings. Over the next five months, the probe makes 22 hazardous moves in between the planet and the rings, before finally diving into the atmosphere, burning up like a meteor. The scientific aim of the scheduled suicide is to finally find the answers that will solve decades of disputes concerning the age of Saturn’s rings. Scientists are currently analysing all the data that Cassini has sent back during its grand finale.