Cassini's Saturn voyage comes to an epic end Here's why scientists are crashing the spacecraft into the massive planet

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Cassini's Saturn voyage comes to an epic end Here's why scientists are crashing the spacecraft into the massive planet
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Cassini has been extraordinarily successful -- indisputably one of the most successful planetary missions ever. Its flight was smooth, its instruments worked, its software rarely acted up. In addition to Huygens's perfectly stuck landing, Cassini probed the formation and behavior of Saturn's ring system , discovered a 5,000 mile-wide hurricane at Saturn's south pole and got the first close-up view of the planet's hexagonal North Pole storm . Cassini revealed that Saturn's rings have a lot of three-dimensional texture and contain bumps as big as the Rocky Mountains, solved the mystery of the moon Iapetus's two-tone black-and-white cookie coloration and photographed its odd equatorial bulge. Roughly 4,000 papers have been written using the 635 gigabytes of data collected by Cassini in nearly 300 orbits of Saturn.

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