"Cassini's Grand Finale" Follows LIVE on Science Channel the Probe's Final Moments Before Crashing into Saturn's Atmosphere

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08 September 2017
Cassini's Grand Finale
Photo: NASA/JPL - Caltech/Space Science Institute 2012
"Cassini's Grand Finale"
Friday, September 15 at 7:50 AM on Science Channel
"Space Deepest Secrets: Cassini"
Tuesday September 19 at 9 PM ET/PT on Science Channel
           On Friday, September 15th NASA's Cassini mission will end its remarkable 13-year tour of Saturn by plunging into the gas giant and burning up. Cassini has spent months diving close to Saturn’s rings, offering the world remarkable never-before-seen images of the planet. Now we’ll see what it looks like from inside its famous rings. Science Channel will go live on September 15 at 7:50 a.m. to broadcast Cassini’s final moments. Science Channel also captures the months of lead-up to the mission’s ‘Grand Finale,’ as well as images taken right before the crash, in “Space Deepest Secrets: Cassini," premiering Tuesday, September 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

          The images taken by Cassini have provided the closest ever look at Saturn’s swirling cloud tops, as well as the first accurate measurement of its magnetic field. It will be a fitting end to one of the most scientifically fascinating space missions ever undertaken. “Space Deepest Secrets: Cassini" recounts the 20-year history of the mission, its countless discoveries and awe-inspiring images, and how it has completely transformed our understanding of Saturn, its rings and moons.
Cassini's Grand FinalePlanetary scientist Professor Carl Murray / Photo: Toby MacDonald/BBC Studios© 2017

          After a decade of orbiting and two mission extensions beyond its planned lifetime, Cassini is nearly out of fuel. The Cassini team has chosen to end the mission by burning it up in Saturn’s atmosphere, partly to protect it’s two moons, Enceladus and Titan, that may have oceans suitable for life, and to provide a once in a lifetime chance to peer into Saturn’s atmosphere. In the lead-up to this, we’ll see the closest images ever taken of Saturn’s swirling cloud tops, and will collect new information about Saturn’s atmosphere and interior. During its final plunge, Cassini will continuously download data up until the last few moments of its existence. Science Channel will be there for this nail-biting ride, until the signal stops – an emotional moment for everyone on the team, the final stop on a 20-year journey, and the last time we’ll be able to see Saturn up close for at least a decade.
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