Saturn mis­sion is over

Daily Record - - NEWS - JOHN VON RADOWITZ re­porters@dai­

SATURN probe Cassini’s 20-year mis­sion ended yes­ter­day as it plunged at 77,000mph and burned up in the planet’s at­mos­phere.

Nasa sci­en­tists planned the spec­tac­u­lar sui­cide dive to end the £2.9bil­lion mis­sion, which de­liv­ered a trea­sure trove of dis­cov­er­ies.

At 12.55pm UK time, ra­dio con­tact with the 22ft nu­clear-pow­ered probe was lost as Cassini tum­bled to its doom 930 miles above Saturn’s cloud tops.

Mis­sion con­trollers at Nasa’s lab in Pasadena, Cal­i­for­nia, clapped and hugged each other when the sig­nal loss was con­firmed.

Project boss Earl Maize said: “Con­grat­u­la­tions to you all. This has been an in­cred­i­ble mis­sion ... you’re an in­cred­i­ble team.”

The de­ci­sion to kill off Cassini was taken be­cause the craft would soon run out of fuel and be­come im­pos­si­ble to steer.

WATCH­ING Nasa work­ers

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