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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Cassini Signs Off

Cassini Signs Off

Cassini Mission Explorations Graphic (credit: CSIRO)

The remarkable Cassini mission, exploring Saturn's rings, moons, and raging storms, has come to a fiery end plunging into the giant gas planet. The discoveries, data, and imagery the spacecraft gathered during its 20-year mission will take years of analysis to interpret. Cassini carried a robotic passenger, the Huygens lander, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), that parachuted to the surface of Saturn's smog-covered moon, Titan. Another remarkable accomplishment of the mission. Cassini was also a global research and engineering enterprise involving the Deep Space Network of satellite tracking stations monitoring spacecraft transmissions from various locations on Earth.

Several of the best known Cassini/Huygens findings include photographs of water jets erupting from cracks on the small icy moon Enceladus; rivers and lakes of liquid hydrocarbons flowing on Titan's surface; brilliant auroras, lightening, and hexagonal storms at Saturn's poles; and the emptiness of the space between the giant planet and its iconic rings. During its last Grand Finale, Cassini swung across Saturn's poles to peer into the raging hurricanes. Images of these massive storms allowed graphic illustrators to re-imagine the planet. Cassini's elliptical orbit was slightly altered by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech so the spacecraft fell into Saturn's atmosphere and be consumed.

Two perspectives on the volume and diversity of the discoveries at Saturn are presented:

Cassini has entered all the history books of great adventures and space exploration.


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