houston - After a 20-year trip, Friday ends the American space probe Cassini. He is being swallowed up by the planet Saturn. There he did years of research.
The deliberate destruction is accurately prepared. For several months, the Cassini is getting closer to Saturn. Eventually, the attractiveness of the planet will become too big. Then the probe disappears into the atmosphere and is torn apart. That happens around 13. 54 hours Dutch time. In the last few minutes of his existence, the Cassini has to do all sorts of measurements from Saturn, in a place where humanity has never been.
The Cassini was launched in 1997 and came to Saturn after seven years and is at least 62 men. He discovered, among other things, oceans on the Saturn moon Enceladus and seas of liquid methane on the Titan moon. The fuel on board (plutonium) slowly rises.
The crash of Friday should prevent the probe from ever steaming on one of the Saturnians. There may be traces of life. The flight line does not want to pollute it radioactively.