Google Doodle on Wednesday celebrated NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft entering the “Grand Finale” of Saturn mission. Google doodle marks the journey of the nearly 20-year-old spacecraft.
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The Cassini spacecraft was launched almost 20 years ago, in 1997, from Cape Canaveral in the United States. The spacecraft reached Saturn’s orbit in July 2004 and has been studying the planet and its moons since then.
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Cassini spacecraft made its 127th close approach Saturn’s moon – Titan last week on April 21 and sent back a beautiful new picture of the Earth, as pictured from the planet’s rings.
According to NASA, the Cassini spacecraft is set to make its first dive through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017. Because that gap is a region no spacecraft has ever explored, Cassini will use its dish-shaped high-gain antenna (13 feet or 4 meters across) as a protective shield while passing through the ring plane.
The Cassini mission has obtained exhaustive data on two other moons of the planet Saturn, including Enceladus.