NASA spacecraft photographs Earth from 870 million miles away

NASA spacecraft photographs Earth from 870 million miles away

By destroying the spacecraft, NASA will ensure that any hitchhiking Earth microbes still alive on Cassini will not contaminate the moons for future study. Specifically, a photograph of Earth in between Saturn's rings taken by the strategically placed Cassini spacecraft. "The spacecraft is now on a ballistic path, so that even if we were to forgo future small course adjustments using thrusters, we would still enter Saturn's atmosphere on September 15 no matter what".

NASA said the Cassini mission to Saturn is "one of the most ambitious efforts in planetary space exploration ever mounted". On Wednesday (April 26), Cassini will begin the Grand Finale phase of its mission, performing the first of 22 dives between Saturn's cloud tops and the gas giant's innermost ring.

"With this flyby we're committed to the Grand Finale", said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL.

"I think it is too early to eulogize Cassini on the occasion of its death, as incineration is five months away", Jonathan Lunine, director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and a longtime member of the Cassini mission team, told USA Today.

IMF members delete anti-protectionism pledge, keep currency commitments
The president has already backed down from a campaign pledge to officially label China a currency manipulator. President Trump was elected on the campaign promise of strengthening US borders and combating globalization.

The close encounter with Titan increased Cassini's velocity to about 1,925 miles per hour.

Cassini captured this view on April 12, 2017, at 10:41 p.m. PDT (1:41 a.m. EDT on April 13). This point, called apoapse, is where each new Cassini lap around Saturn begins. Through its travels in the ring gap, scientists hope that Cassini will help differentiate between the weight of Saturn and the weight of its rings.

The spacecraft's first finale dive will take place on April 26. Images and other data are expected to begin flowing in shortly after communication is established. During its many years in space, the Cassini has sent back some spectacular photos, most recently a picture of Earth. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

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