NASA Mission Control Live: Cassini’s Finale at Saturn


[dramatic music] – Hello everyone,
I’m Gay Yee Hill, and welcome to NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. After two decades in space, the Cassini
spacecraft has reached the end of its
journey at Saturn. Earlier this morning,
the spacecraft made its final approach
to the giant planet, and plunged into Saturn’s
upper atmosphere, ending this
extraordinary mission. But due to the time it
takes for radio signals to travel almost a billion miles between the ringed
planet and Earth, the team won’t have
confirmation that the mission has ended until they see
Cassini’s signal drop away. The Deep Space Network is
monitoring Cassini’s signal. As you can see on
this DSN Now display, it’s being tracked by a
70-meter-wide antenna, Antenna 43, in
Canberra, Australia. Here’s a live picture
of the control room on the other side of the world. The DSN team in
Australia is keeping a watchful eye on Cassini’s
final transmission. Meanwhile, it is four
AM here in California. The sun is not up yet and more
than 1500 Cassini scientists, engineers, alumni,
friends, and family have gathered for this moment. The flight team is in the
Cassini Mission Control Area. Others have gathered in von
Karman Auditorium here at JPL, and still more are at
CalTech in Pasadena. Folks wanted to be together
to share this final moment. This is a vigil, but
also a celebration of a remarkable mission. This is the last hour
of the last chapter of Cassini’s grand finale. [dramatic music] – [Narrator] A lone explorer. On a mission to reveal
the grandeur of Saturn, its rings and moons. After 20 years in space,
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is running out of fuel. And so, to protect
moons of Saturn that could have conditions
suitable for life, a spectacular end
has been planned for this long-lived
traveler from Earth. – [Announcer] Five,
four, three, two, one. And lift-off of the
Cassini spacecraft on a billion-mile
trek to Saturn. We have cleared the tower. Pitch program is in. Roll program is in. – [Narrator] In 2004,
following a seven-year journey through the solar system,
Cassini arrived at Saturn. – [Announcer] The
SOI burn attitude are pointing position, and
light up the rockets. – [Narrator] The spacecraft
carried a passenger, the European Huygens Probe, the first human-made
object to land on a world in the distant
outer solar system. – [Announcer] The Huygens
arrival on Saturn’s moon, Titan. – [Narrator] For over a decade, Cassini has shared
the wonders of Saturn and its family of icy moons, taking us to astounding worlds where methane rivers
run to a methane sea, where jets of ice and
gas are blasting material into space from a
liquid water ocean that might harbor the
ingredients for life. And Saturn, a giant world
ruled by raging storms and delicate
harmonies of gravity. Now, Cassini has one
last daring assignment. Cassini’s grand finale
is a brand-new adventure. As it repeatedly braves
this unexplored region, Cassini seeks new insights
about the origins of the rings and the nature of the
planet’s interior, closer to Saturn
than ever before. On the final orbit, Cassini
will plunge into Saturn, fighting to keep its
antenna pointed at Earth as it transmits its farewell. In the skies of Saturn,
the journey ends, as Cassini becomes part
of the planet itself. – Okay, let’s do the
numbers, the Cassini numbers. The mission has traveled nearly five billion miles since launch, executed 2.5 million commands, taken 453,000-plus images,
discovered six moons, published nearly
4,000 science papers, and it’s not done. Cassini is sending home data
right now, right to the end. Let’s take a look now and talk to Cassini program manager
Earl Maize about this. After a lineup like that,
you have to be impressed. – We are impressed. It’s very impressive,
and we’re very proud of what we’ve been
able to accomplish over the last 13 years at
Saturn, it’s just been awesome. – So a lot of people
are asking, then, why must we end this
mission this way? – Well really, if you think
about it a little bit, you’ll find out we
didn’t have any choice. Cassini must be disposed
of properly at some point. There are international
treaties that require that we can’t just leave
a derelict spacecraft in orbit around a
planet like Saturn, which has prebiotic moons. So we’ve got to do
something about it. We could have sent
Cassini away from Saturn, but Saturn was so
compelling, so exciting, and the mission that
we finally came up with is so rich scientifically
that we just couldn’t, we had to finish up at
Saturn, not someplace else. So the mission really started
about seven years ago. We’ve been on this
path to actually end up right where we are, right
now, in less than an hour. – So, let’s talk about
what’s about to happen and kind of walk viewers
through what to expect. But let’s start with Monday
and the kiss goodbye. Can we talk about that? – Can we bring up
this first graphic? Let’s see what we got here. So this is the last
22 orbits of Saturn. And every one of them is
going between the rings and Saturn, absolutely
unexplored territory, fantastic science every time. And what’s been also
happening is that that out there
further away is Titan, and every now and
then, Titan comes by, and you’re gonna see
it come by for one last final kiss goodbye, that was it. It was very quick. You have to, don’t blink. What happened on Monday
was that Titan came by and gave Cassini one
last little nudge. Took away a few 10ths
of meters per second, slowed us down just
enough so that our entry into Saturn in just
a few minutes now is absolutely inevitable. – So, Cassini’s
fate is just sealed. – Sealed, absolutely done. There was, wasn’t much we
could’ve done about it before because this thing
had been so wired in, but after that Titan fly by, there is absolutely
nothing we can do. – So, step us through
what has happened over this last week then,
getting ready for this moment. – Okay well, because
Cassini’s still a science machine, really
most of what we’ve been doing is still gathering more science. And so, if you look at
this graphic up here, we saw, there’s the
Titan, the kiss goodbye on September 11th, and then
we turn right back around after flying by Titan,
getting a lot of Titan, we turned around, played
all that data back, it’s on the monitors
on these displays, you can see those. Played back all of
the data from Titan, got confused with the
north of the lakes and the clouds again,
then Cassini turned back around again for its final
set of science observations. And we actually did a
little bit of science and a little bit
of just nostalgia. We took our last
picture of Enceladus, our last picture of Titan, our last picture of
the rings and planet, and we want to more
look at the propellers and Peggy, the little
moon we discovered out in the A ring. So there’s a little
bit of science, a little bit of just kind
of last memento photos, and those all got played back, beginning yesterday
afternoon, about 2:45. Cassini turned back for
final call to Earth, played all those data back. They’re also available
on real time display. About one o’clock this morning, all that data was
down on the ground. Cassini then rigged
herself up for, if we go back to that
timeline just for a moment. Can we go back one, yeah.
– Go back one, there you go. So September 15th and 137
down there, that last plot, we actually figured ourselves
into a real-time Saturn probe. Everything that comes into the spacecraft goes right back out. So there’s no delay, or as
little delay as we could make, so that we actually can
become an atmospheric sampling mission as
we go into the planet. And then of course at 4:55
AM, that’s give or take a few seconds on that,
we’ll be entering into
Saturn’s atmosphere. – And let’s advance
to the next display. This is what’s going to be
happening within the last hour. – That’s exactly right, we
came in over the North Pole, just a little bit east
from that perspective. Actually that looks west
here, but a little bit over the North Pole, just before
four o’clock this morning, we were 60 degrees
north, and as you can see, that descent
is very rapid. In 20 minutes from now or so
we’ll be at 50 degrees north. Then 12 minutes later
40, and we’ll be slowly, not slowly, very
rapidly increasing. The 10 degree north
latitude impact point is just about where
we’re gonna finish up. And it’s gonna happen about
5:05 this morning local time. – And the last 90 seconds. – The last 90 seconds,
this is really where it’s all
gonna be happening. Cassini’s not gonna
even really notice Saturn until the
last 90 seconds. Because it’s in free fall
around the gravitational body, it’s just doing its thing
and playing our thing. But between 70 and 60 seconds
out from final impact, it will start to
notice the atmosphere, and you can see in
this graphic the very tenuous atmosphere
starting to experience. Now Cassini’s been fighting
in that atmosphere before. As a matter of fact for the last five revs we’ve been doing that. And it’s done very well. But this time, because
we’re gonna go in so deep, there’s not a chance that it can fight to hold onto
the atmosphere. That atmosphere where
we’ve been fighting so far is about the same density
as the atmosphere that the International Space Station
experiences here on Earth. Very thin, but we’re going
very very fast. [laughs] – Alright, and we have the
animation from the video early. It sort of helps us envision.
– Okay. – [Gay] Although it might
be painful to watch. – Well it’s
actually, what’s your watching is valued spacecraft. So you can see the thrusters
coming out the back as it starts to
encounter the atmosphere. Those are small thrusters. They just aren’t built to
fight the kind of torques. And by the way, that’s
the antennae still trying to point at the Earth,
those thrusters just aren’t built to handle the kind
of atmospheric torque and drag that Cassini’s
gonna experience. But for about a minute,
Cassini will hang on, will be sampling the atmosphere, we’ll be sending the data
back as quickly as we can, and then finally of course,
it’s gonna lose the battle and within the next minute
will be completely and totally vaporized, becoming part of
the planet it went to explore. – [Gay] Just as planned. – As planned, just
exactly the way we’ve always had it to be. – And so for the team,
it is bittersweet. I mean it is sad, but there’s
tremendous energy here. – There is. I think we’re excited,
because this is exactly the way we
always planned this. It’s sad that we’re
losing, you know, an incredible discovery
machine, that’s a loss. But it was always in the plans. And now it’s working exactly
the way we set it out. The images we’ve seen
from the last few revs and the science we’ve had from this entire approximal orbit
has just been phenomenal. So the real sense here is
just, alright, we got it. – You have, you have.
– We have. – What a wonderful tour.
– Alright, thank you. – Alright, well thanks
so much for joining us. I’ll let you back in the room, I know you wanna
be back in there. Alright, thanks Earl.
– I do, thanks. – Meanwhile, DSN 43 in Australia is the antenna locked
on Cassini’s signal. And let’s check
the update display. The expected loss of
signal is 4:55 AM. And that is about 41
minutes away from now. – We’ve managed to inspire a younger generation
of scientists. And they will continue
after this is over and after the original investigators
are gone to march on for their own challenges for
future spacecraft exploration. – Let’s look back to
what inspired the mission and the day Cassini
arrived at Saturn, the Cassini-Huygens Mission
was a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency,
and the Italian Space Agency. It was conceived after the
Voyager flybys of Saturn, and scientists
all over the world insisted they had to go back. – Hello, this is Arthur Clark, joining you from my home
in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Thanks to the World Wide
Web, I’ve been following the progress of
Cassini-Huygens from the time it was launched
several years ago. As you know, I have more than
a passing interest in Saturn. So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed with what
Cassini discovers. And who know, one day
our survival on Earth may depend on what we
discover out there. – [Radio Operator]
Flight’s going up. – [Co-Radio Operator]
Go ahead in flight com. – [Radio Operator] The
downloader has flattened out. [people applauding and cheering] – Okay, we have
burn complete here for the SOI orbit
insertion burn. – From Saturn’s strong
gravity pulling it in. SOI burn attitude or
pointing direction and will help to
acquire a signal before that turn
actually completes. – Now the voice you heard
announcing the arrival of Saturn June 30th,
2004 was the voice of Cassini propulsion
engineer Todd Barber. Todd served as the
team’s commentator
and Todd is back today once again serving as
our team commentator in the same mission control
room for a much different event. How does it feel,
Todd, to be here? – Hi Gay, well it’s
great to be back. It’s kind of cruel
to age 13 years in two seconds and
have to watch that. But what a demonstration of
the longevity of this mission. As you and I sat there
in 2004, we never dreamt we’d be here
in 2017 still talking about Cassini and
collecting science data. So I’m just thrilled to be here, even having aged
some years since SOI. – Todd, very quickly, we’re a
couple of minutes behind here, explain qto us why the
team has gathered here even though you had told
me that the spacecraft met its fate probably about
3:30, 3:30 Pacific time, out at Saturn, but yet the
team is waiting here now and holding vigil, why is that? – Well, it’s that pesky
Albert Einstein and his speed of light speed limit,
186,000 miles per second or 300,000 kilometers
per second. So Saturn is about an
hour and 23 minutes away from us right now,
one way light time. I’m a big sports nut, I
tape a lot of games in DVR, and the game is still exciting
if you don’t know the result and you haven’t seen it, and
no one’s seen the Cassini last bits of science come
back from Saturn yet. It’s just about
to cross the orbit of Jupiter, there’s our graphic. And of course Jupiter’s a
little different position, so any denizens of the solar
system at Jupiter or Mars, they’ll know Cassini’s
fate and last bit of data before we will on Earth. So we’re holding vigil here. We also have this display, kind
of like gauges in your car. This is the speed notice,
it’s 63,000 miles per hour and climbing as we descend
into Saturn’s gravity well. And on the right side is the
distance from the cloud tops, and that’s just shrinking,
it’s gonna head down over the next 37 minutes
until we meet those cloud tops and say goodbye to our beautiful
spacecraft out at Saturn. – And Todd, help us understand how the team will
be monitoring this. – Yes, we’ve got a few ways,
there’s a display from, well here’s our radio signal. So this is the carrier
frequency, and what
I like to point out here, the peak
in the middle, this
is like the loudness or the signal strength, and
at the Cassini frequency that it’s talking, we have two
displays by the way, X band and S band, those are just two
different radio frequencies. So if you think in your
car radio of tuning to different frequencies,
that’s like moving along the X axis there,
the horizontal axis. And we’re getting a nice
big strong booming signal from Cassini on both those axes. But as we come into
the atmosphere and
turn away from Earth, our thrusters can’t keep
anymore with the torques, those will flat line and that’s when we say goodbye to Cassini. However, the key is to
keep the data coming down to Earth and
get those precious last few bits of science
data from Saturn. Our first sniff of the
upper Saturn atmosphere. And boy we’re excited for that. – Alright, well thanks Todd, we will check back
with you later. And one of the signals
Todd showed you is part of a computer
visualization tool we call Eyes on
the Solar System. This JPL computer simulation
software is based on real data from missions and is
something you can download onto your own computer and use
to follow along this morning. Just go to eyes.nasa.gov,
download the app, and click on Cassini’s Tour. Here are two family
photos we’d like to share. The top one was taken
on June 21st, 2017. It’s the Cassini
team and alumni, and they filled the
staircase on the mall here. Most of them are engineers. On the bottom photo, and this
one was just taken just a few days ago, it’s the science
team, and they were at Cal Tech. The team includes scientists
from all over the world. Over the years thousands
of people have worked on this mission, in fact there
are so many members of the Cassini family, we couldn’t
fit all of them here at JPL. It’s why there’s a big
crowd at Beckman Auditorium at Cal Tech in Pasadena,
and that is where Cassini science team member
Morgan Cable is right now. Morgan, what is
it like out there? – Hi Gay, well here at Cal Tech, you can hear it
behind me, right? This is a historic moment, and I think the
mood reflects that. But it’s also like
a family reunion. We’re here with our other
fellow Cassini members where same people we
haven’t seen in a long time for some cases, and
it’s just been wonderful to share these memories,
to revel in the excitement. This is a celebration of an amazing mission and
an incredible legacy. – Morgan, you’re one of the scientists.
– So back to you at JPL. – You’re one of the
scientists out there. I mean for you, you’re
probably being very reflective. What was one of the highlights
for you this mission? – For me personally, the
discoveries at Enceladus have really revolutionized our view
of where we might find life or at least the conditions
suitable for life in not only our solar
system, but the universe. We’ve learned now that there
are places where liquid water and the other ingredients for
life as we know it to exist, chemistry and energy, exist
in places like Enceladus. And that’s thanks to
the Cassini mission, which flew through the plume
of Enceladus multiple times. This means that life may not
only exist in the habitable zone around other stars,
but now we can start to look for places like Enceladus
or Europa elsewhere in the universe and
extend our search to try to find that amazing discovery
of life somewhere else. – Alright, well we
will be checking back with you, Morgan,
later on the show. Thanks for that report. It is about 23
minutes past the hour. You’re watching live coverage
marking the final moments of Cassini on NASA TV,
the Deep Space Network is awaiting the loss of
signal from the spacecraft from DSN antenna
43 in Australia. And let’s go to Cassini’s
final hour display. At this point the
spacecraft has sent us data from about the 50 degree
north latitude mark. And loss of signal
should be coming about 32 minutes from now. [dramatic music] Beautiful images from Cassini. The Cassini-Huygens’
mission made so many historic discoveries. Think about it, the
Huygens probe sent back details of an
alien world on Titan, a world that appears to
be very similar to Earth. It found jets
spraying water, ice, and organics from the
south pole of Enceladus, revealing an interior ocean
where there could be life. Over and over again, the mission
revealed scientific wonders about Saturn, its
rings and moons, and it hasn’t stopped,
at least not yet. With me now is Cassini project
scientist Linda Spilker. This mission was
determined to send down science right
down to the very end. – That’s right Gay, to
the very last second. – So Earl told us just a little
while ago that overnight, the spacecraft sent back
the last picture show, it’s been called, can you
describe what those are? – Okay, well let’s go to the
very first image, image A. As part of the last picture
show the first thing we did is we made a color mosaic,
and these are just a couple of pictures from that mosaic,
we’ll stitch those together and have a beautiful
image of Saturn plus the rings
for the last time. We go to image C, that’s
a movie of Enceladus actually setting behind
the limb of Saturn. – [Gay] And explain to
me how the team decided to come up with this
imagery and this selection. – Well, there’s a lot of
science in these images, so we wanted to do science,
oh there’s Enceladus, setting behind the
lumament of Saturn. So we’re saying
goodbye to Enceladus, and taking a last look
at that particular world. And so we wanted to
sorta do a survey, look at each of
these key targets, collect picture postcards
for our Cassini scrapbook. So these will be
the last pictures that we’ll put in our scrapbook. If we look at image E, that’s
a true color image of Titan. And you can see the
lakes up in the north. Image F shows this in false
color, there’s a UV filter as part of image F and
the lakes really pop out. And you can also see that bluish
haze at the edge of Titan. You know, Titan has this
thick nitrogen atmosphere. And we also took some
pictures of the rings, Gay, if we go to image
G, we’re looking for propellers in
this particular image. You can just see a hint
of it above that dark gap. If we go to image
H, that’s a blowup, and see that little
two-armed propellor, it’s that little bright feature
just above the dark gap. There’s a collection of
ring particles that are large enough that are trying
to open their own gap, and they create what looks
like an airplane propellor. And they have fun
names of aviators. If we go to image I as
part of the sequence, we’re looking at the
tiny moon Daphnis, that’s the Keeler
Gap, and you can see those crinkly edges
along the gap. That’s created by Daphnis,
a wake as it goes through that system, and you can see
the beautiful density waves, the interaction between the
rings and the satellites also as those bright features in our
last look at the propellors. And finally image J. This is an image looking
at Saturn in a place where Cassini will be entering,
so one of our last views, our very last
pictures, of Saturn. And you can think of Cassini as basically running a marathon. For 13 years we’ve been running a marathon of
scientific discovery. And we’re on the last lap. And so we’re here today to cheer as Cassini finishes that race. – Now many of these images
and what the spacecraft will be doing right now, all
of this is unknown territory. The spacecraft has
never been here before. – That’s right, we’re
flying into Saturn. We’re deeper than we’ve
ever flown before. We have eight of our
scientific instruments on. They key instrument is the ion and neutral mass spectrometer. Basically coming in
we’ve oriented the
instrument to sample the atmosphere of Saturn,
which it’s doing right now, deeper and deeper, until
in the very final second as Cassini fights
to hold attitude, it’ll send back those last
very valuable packets of data. And who knows how
many PhD theses might be in just those
final seconds of data. – Right, we will have
scientists and students poring over this data for
decades to come, probably. – Right, and looking at the
hydrogen to helium ratio to help us understand
how Saturn formed, how Saturn’s evolving,
and who knows what else we’ll see as we
go into the atmosphere. – What great science
leaves still ahead. Alright, well Linda,
thanks for joining us. – [Linda] Yeah, glad to be here. – You’re watching live
coverage of Cassini’s final hour from the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. JPL is a NASA center in
La Canada Flintridge, and Pasadena, California,
and managed by the California
Institute of Technology. Let’s check out our
display, we are now about just a little under 26 minutes
from the end of mission. [upbeat music] – Well, the Cassini team
considers itself a family. A team that works together
and plays together. And here is one example. The Cassini Virtual Singers,
they have a knack for putting a Cassini spin on
just about any showtune. And I saw Todd
Barber in that group. Todd, it is a very
close-knit group, and a multi-generational group. I mean some people have
spent their entire careers on this mission,
and others are just starting their
careers on Cassini. Todd Barber is standing by
with one of the younger members of team, Guidance and
Control Engineer Joni Stupak, who started her career
with Cassini, right? – Yes, that’s right, and I’ve
been on since before launch, but it’s so wonderful to have young engineers
join the project. Welcome Joni, and Joni
is an attitude control engineer on the project,
and can you explain what that means to our viewers? – Sure, absolutely. So I and my team are in charge of the orientation
of the spacecraft. So we point all of the
cameras the antenna. – That’s great, and
you have a particularly important role this
evening, right? Or this morning, I
guess I should say. – Absolutely, so as Earl
and Linda both alluded to, we want to get every last
possible second of information, which means our antenna
needs to be pointed towards Earth for as
long as we possibly can. As we enter into the atmosphere, Saturn is gonna start
trying to tug us away. So we wanna hold
the antenna steady as we possibly can
for that whole time. – [Todd] And how do you do that? – We have little
engines or thrusters that we use to hold us steady. – [Todd] Wonderful, and
basically we will lose the battle with Saturn’s
atmosphere, though. – [Joni] We will, and if
we go to the graphic here, we see the thrusters
firing as we try and hold that antenna
for as long as we can. And that will last for
only about a minute, until the thrusters
are finally overwhelmed and we can no longer
point the antenna. – Wow, that’s amazing. But those precious
seconds of science data are worth every thruster
pulse we put on the– – Every second, yeah. We’re learning all about
Saturn’s atmosphere with all the instruments
we can as we go in. – So yeah.
– That’s good. – We wanna point
as long as we can. – [Todd] So you started
your career on this mission, how are you feeling
tonight, knowing we have to say goodbye to our
beautiful spacecraft? – It’s definitely bittersweet,
yeah, I started my career, I was in high school when
Cassini arrived at Saturn. So you know, it’s really
exciting and I’m really proud to have worked
on such, you know, incredible mission, part
of such a wonderful family. But it’s gonna be sad, you
know, I’m used to checking how the spacecraft is feeling
every morning and things like that, so it’ll be a little
sad to not have that anymore. – [Todd] I definitely
agree there, and we’re so grateful
for your contributions and all the young
engineers on the project. As well as the
veterans that have been around since launch,
thank you Joni. – What’ll you be able to
do without the veterans? [both laugh] – We got a few tricks
up our sleeves. So if we can head back to
the radio science display and check and see, still looking good, so we have
a strong X and S band signal. So as Earl mentioned,
our fate is sealed, we’ve met our planetary
protection requirement. We know we’re gonna impact
Saturn and take care of that. The next thing that’s
important is to hold that signal as long
as possible and get every last precious
bit of science data. So so far so good,
Gay, back to you. – Thanks Todd, thanks Joni. It is about 33
minutes past the hour and the estimated time of loss
of signal is 4:55 AM Pacific. [dramatic music] The Cassini-Huygens
mission has been an epic adventure around
the Saturn system. It has sent home mountains of
science data, stunning images. The spacecraft
performed beautifully. The mission fulfilled
its goals and then some. Members say they couldn’t
have asked for anything more. [dramatic music] – [Radio Operator] This
is Titan launch control. – [Man] All systems are go. – I’ve worked on the Cassini
project for almost 30 years. And that’s an
entire Saturn orbit. – The beauty of
Cassini is the design. It’s the largest outer planetary
spacecraft every built. 12 different instruments. The Huygens probe, built by
the European Space Agency. It’s just a monumental machine. – [Man] Three, two, one, and liftoff of the
Cassini spacecraft on a billion mile
trip to Saturn. – We turned the Cassini cameras
down to look at the rings, revealing them in a way we
had never seen them before. I remember coming back to
JPL early in the morning just so I could be there. And watch those pictures
one by one come down. And I felt like I could
almost reach out and touch the rings that were right there. – We had been collaborating
with the Europeans ever since launch to
make sure that we had everything right for Huygens. The Huygens probe was
dropped onto Titan. These are images from
billion miles away on the surface of Titan. They’re boulders, there were
pebbles, in a dry lake bed. And I still get goosebumps
just talking about it. – Looking back at what
we were planning to do in those first four years,
we’ve gone so far beyond that. – We remapped our
investigations to concentrate on the questions
that Cassini raised. – Two of our instruments
actually sampled the plume of Enceladus
as we flew through. Tasting the gas,
measuring the particles, in a way that we hadn’t planned. Cassini has changed the paradigm of where we might look for life. That will be one
of her legacies. – 13 years of exploring Saturn. It really is just
an awesome mission. – Alright, well
joining me now is NASA Director of Planetary
Science Jim Greene. Some of Cassini’s
greatest accomplishments came as big surprises,
didn’t they? – They did, absolutely. You know, one of the
ones that’s pretty spectacular obviously
is Enceladus. Now you may not really
understand the importance of having a spacecraft with
all kinds of instruments, including magnetometers and
plasma weight instruments. But it really discovered
the plumes by magnetometer. And so as the spacecraft
was doing a flyby, what was happening
is the plumes were being blasted out of
the tiger stripes. They were being
ionized and they were loading down the
field, dragging it by. And so the magnetometer
saw the wave of the field in a place
that they hadn’t expected. And that gave a
hint that something was going on and it
needed to be looked at. And so then the next pass
they came up with the idea, well let’s look at
it in back light. And wow, there were the plumes. And that started then
a series of new orbits, new trajectories, to try to go
through and taste the plumes and get even more details about what’s happening at Enceladus. – And how does this
discovery sort of change the way we look for life
in the solar system? – Well, this is really
a calling, if you will, of hey, you’re gonna
have to come back. Because there’s several
things we know about life. One, it metabolizes, that
means it takes in a liquid, it then uses that
to extract energy and then the liquid is
used to extract the waste. But then it evolves, and
then it also reproduces. Well I can’t measure any of
those from our spacecraft other than going
after the water. So once we see an
area that has water, then we know it
has a possibility of being a habitable
environment. – And transitioning to
the other big story, also from Cassini, is
another moon, Titan. – Oh yeah, Titan. What a beautiful moon this is. You know, it’s bigger
than the planet Mercury. Its atmosphere is actually
a significant one. It’s twice the pressure
that we have here on Earth. It’s similar in the sense
that it has a lot of nitrogen. In fact it’s
dominated by nitrogen. But it also has
liquid on its surface, which we know now is methane. And there’s a hydrological
cycle of evaporation, transport, rain,
and then new lakes are forming in other
locations on the moon. – And that’s an
incredible science legacy, but Titan also helped us with
an engineering legacy as well. – Oh, absolutely. The concept of using
Titan to do lunar, or to do gravity
assist swing bys that then enable the
spacecraft to get into different orbits
is a fabulous concept. Because while we’re
doing that, you know, and here’s the Koosh
ball, as we say, all these spectacular flybys allow us to look
at Titan in detail. So from multiple flybys
we can get a global view of that moon, and we’re
using that same concept at Jupiter with another
moon called Europa. – Alright, well before we go, I wanted to bring up the e-book. Because one of the
most fantastic things about this mission
has been the imagery, could you tell us a
little bit about that? – Well you know, we
really needed to make sure that we had wonderfully
described and beautifully set images that were
accessible to everyone. And after you know,
450,000 plus images, it’s so hard to pick, but
you know, we were able to go back in, get 100
beautiful images or more, and videos and all kinds of– – And there’s a link.
– Yeah. – [Gay] Where if
you want to get it, you can download it
off the internet. – [Jim] Nasa.gov/ebooks. – Alright, well Jim,
thanks for joining us. Thanks for taking time for us.
– Oh, my pleasure. – And I know you wanna get
back into that control room. – [Jim] Absolutely. – Thank you.
– Thank you. [dramatic music] – Well we are a little
over 10 minutes away from the loss of signal,
so we will be focusing our attention to the
control room very soon now. But before we do,
let’s take a moment to chat with JPL
director Mike Watkins. So Mike, how are you feeling? – Well first good morning. – [Gay] [laughs] Yes,
very early morning. – We always tend to do
these events somehow at three in the morning
or five in the morning. – [Gay] Why do they do that? – But you know, it’s
kind of a bittersweet event for all of us I think. For me personally it’s
more sweet than bitter, because Cassini’s been
such a fantastic mission. But I think you know, one of
the important things about these events is to celebrate
the incredible hard work, the decades of hard
work of the team that designed, built, and
operated Cassini. And that’s really, right,
the heart of the spacecraft is really the people
that worked on it, the people that have
been operating it. And this is a great
time to celebrate that level of dedication,
that devotion. To work on something
for 10, 20, 30 years, that’s sorta unparalleled
in human history. – So how do you
think Cassini will be remembered in
the science books? – Well I’d say most
of the science books, most of what we have
in science books about Saturn come from Cassini. – [Gay] Right. – Right, so it will
be long remembered. I mean you look at
almost everything we know came from
Cassini about Saturn. But you know, I think one
of the greatest legacies of a mission is not just
the scientific discoveries it makes and what
you learn about, but the fact that you
make discoveries that are so compelling that
you have to go back. And that’s really part of
what the end of Cassini sweet is that the discoveries are so compelling that we
have to go back. We will go back and fly through
the geysers of Enceladus and we’ll go back
and look at Titan, because the Cassini findings,
they’re just groundbreaking. – But the way missions
are, one mission sort of sets the footsteps
for the next mission. So what’s coming up
next after Cassini? – So one of the things
we’ve learned about the outer solar system is
how much water is there. So we used to think that
most of the water was here in the inner solar system,
here on Earth for example, habitable zone, Goldilocks Zone between Venus and
Mars where we are. We now realize
that there’s a lot of water in the
outer solar system. So Europa for example,
the moon of Jupiter. Enceladus. And I think what you
see compelling about
the outer planets is to go back and look at those ocean worlds in great detail. Fly through the geysers, try
to drill down through the ice, take a look at the
composition of the ice. And as Jim Green noted, you
know, are these habitable places, are these places
where there could be life? And so we here at JPL and
NASA, we have plans to go back to many of these ocean
worlds, as many as we can. The next one up is a
multiple flyby of Europa, we call it Europa Clipper,
where we’ll be in orbit around Jupiter and fly
by Europa 40 or 50 times and taking a very close
look at that ocean from above the ice, of course, and the composition of the ice. And then later we’ll make our
way to the other ocean worlds. – Ocean worlds are the things to look at right now, it seems. – Absolutely. You know, the search
for life is one of the compelling
threads for NASA and for the science mission
directorate and for JPL. We’re looking for life
in our solar system and of course we’re looking
for life outside the solar system, we’re looking for
exoplanets and other Earths. But the ocean worlds look like an incredibly compelling target. – Alright, well thank
you so much, Mike, for coming by and joining us. I know all the guys
wanna get back in there, in the control room.
– Absolutely. – And be there for the moment. – ‘Til the last few minutes. – Alright, thank you so much.
– Thanks Gay. – You’re watching live coverage
of Cassini’s final hour from NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. JPL is located in La Canada
Flintridge and Pasadena, and managed by the California
Institute of Technology. Let’s take a look at
our last hour display. Our display shows
that we are just over seven minutes away from
the end of mission. And it’s now traveling
about 75,000 miles per hour. So Cassini is traveling rapidly
towards its end of mission. – For all the beauty and the
exotic features that we found, those are places that
startle and amaze, but not a place
where you can live. And I think it gives
you a perspective on the Earth and what a
wonderful place it is, and more impetus to
perhaps take care of it. – We are getting close to time, and the time when we
should lose that signal. Folks are watching the radio
science display right now, so let’s go to Todd and
Joni in Mission Control. – Hi Gay, well six minutes to
go ’til we’re six feet under. So it’s gonna be hard
to say goodbye here. Radio display still looks
great as we just saw onscreen. Mission Control. I hear a lot of buzz in the
room about the thruster cycles, ’cause the thrusters are
firing, we’re still outside the atmosphere, and they’re
just keeping dead bands, keeping that pointed on
Earth as long as possible. So things aren’t too crazy yet, but once we hit that atmosphere
things happen super fast. So let’s look around the room. – [Man] Is nominal,
we’re in low rate mode and we’re waiting for
high rate mode transition. – Okay, thank you.
– So that was indication– – [Lead Operator]
ACS fault protection. – [ACS Operator] Go
ahead system lead. – [Lead Operator] Just gonna get a quick set system
status please. – [ACS Operator] ACS fault
protection is nominal. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Thermal systems lead. – [Thermal Operator] Thermal
devices subsystem is nominal. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Power systems lead. – [Power Operator]
Power system is nominal. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. System fault
protection system lead. – [Fault Protection Operator]
System fault protection is nominal, no fault
protection activity. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. CES systems lead. – [CES Operator] CES is nominal, we have two frames buffered. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Telecom systems lead. – [Telecom Operator]
Telecom is now good, SNG. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Radio science system state. – [Radio Science Operator]
Radio is science is nominal. Two and was for power nominal, the residual frequency
is starting to increase. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Propulsion Systems lead. – [Propulsion Operator]
Pressures and temperatures are nominal,
propulsion is nominal. – [Lead Operator]
Okay, thank you. Mission planning systems lead. – [Planning Operator]
Mission planning is nominal. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. Side turn systems lead,
everything is nominal. – [Woman] Copy. – [Radio Operator]
And days copies. – [Lead Operator] Thank you ace. – [Joni] So what we just heard
was the room going around and checking all of the
subsystems, so so far, all of the subsystems are
nominal, about four minutes, 3 1/2 to four minutes
away from the end. – [Todd] Joni, I heard
a comment that we went from low rate to high
rate control, can
you comment on that? – [Joni] Sure, so we have our
computer that’s controlling our pointing has different
modes and it’s smart enough to know when we start having
to fight a little harder. So we heard that the
computer acknowledged that we start having
to fight a little bit. – [Todd] Okay, thanks. We were remarking
earlier, it’s incredible, this entire spacecraft
runs on 600 watts of power. How much power is that? – [Joni] Yeah, about
half a hair dryer. – Wow.
– It’s all we got right now. [both laugh] – [Todd] I won’t even
talk about how little fuel we have left, it’s about
1% plus or minus 2%. [Joni laughs]
So that’s one reason we’re heading into
Saturn’s atmosphere today. Under three minutes now. We should definitely emphasize we don’t know exactly
when we’ll lose signal. It depends on the
Saturn atmosphere and how well the
thrusters fight. So stay tuned. Radio signal looks wonderful. X band and S band, two
different radio bands, still getting the
signal from Cassini. – [Joni] And we’re approaching about 10 degrees north
latitude on Saturn. 3000 miles from the cloud tops. – [Todd] I remember saying we
were gonna hit the atmosphere about 77,000 miles an hours,
I see we’re close, so. Two minutes and counting. – [Joni] Oh, we’re
starting to exit the– – [ACS Operator]
Systems, this is ACS one. – [Lead Operator] Go ahead ACS. – [ACS Operator] We’re
still waiting for transition to high rate mode, but it
looks like we’re gonna start accumulating thruster on
time at a higher rate now. And our attitude controller
is starting to be more active. – [Lead Operator] Copy. – [Todd] That means we’re just starting to sense the
atmosphere, right? – [Joni] Yep, we can start
seeing the spacecraft starting the lose the
battle with the atmosphere. – [ACS Operator]
This is ACS one, we just had the transition
to high rate mode. And with this we’re gonna
start seeing thruster on time accumulating
very quickly and the
dead band is gonna clamp down to .52 millirad
and we are in the atmosphere. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. – [Todd] We’re actually one
minute to loss of signal. – [Nav Operator]
Systems, this is nav. – [Lead Operator] Go ahead, Nav. – [Nav Operator] We can
confirm what ACS just told you. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. – [Joni] We’re just
starting to see the thrusters fire
more and more. Yeah, it really is. – [Todd] Radio signal
still holding, 30 seconds. – [Planning Operator] Systems
lead, missions planning. – [Lead Operator] Go
ahead, mission planning. – [Planning Operator]
Spacecraft has just crossed 10 degrees north latitude,
altitude 1000 miles. – [Lead Operator]
Copy, thank you. – [ACS Operator]
Systems, ACS one. – [Lead Operator] Go ahead. – [ACS Operator] With the
additional thruster on time, we’re gonna also see the
dead bands start rising up. – [Todd] We crossed
our zero time. – [Radio Science] Flight
director, radio science. – [Flight Director] Go
ahead, flight director. – [Radio Science] We
have loss of signal at X-ray band and sierra band. – [Flight Director] Project
manager, flight director. – [Project Manager] Go ahead. – [Flight Director]
Okay, we call loss of signal, loss of X band at, we call loss of signal at 115546 for the S band, that would
be the end of the spacecraft. – Project manager on FSO cord. Maybe a trickle
of telemetry left, but just heard the signal
from the spacecraft just go on and within the next 45 seconds
so will be the spacecraft. I hope you’re all
as deeply proud of this amazing accomplishment. Congratulations to you all. This has been an
incredible mission, an incredible spacecraft, and
you’re all an incredible team. I’m gonna call this
the end of mission. Project manager off the net. [people applaud] [dramatic music] [people talking
amongst themselves] – So just a short time
ago, Julie Webster, the space operations team
manager and program manger Earl Maize called it the
end of mission for Cassini. It came at about
4:55 as predicted. Let’s go now to
Beckman Auditorium and check in with Morgan Cable, she is with Cassini
interdisciplinary scientist Jonathan Lunine, to find out how the scientists are doing and the team
is doing down there. The mission is certainly
not over for them, because now there
will be tons of data for them to be poring over. Moran? – That’s a very good point, Gay. There’s gonna be lots of data
to analyze for years to come. Jonathan, how are you
feeling right now? – I’m actually breathing again. And I feel sad, but we
felt sad the whole week. We knew this was
going to happen. And Cassini performed exactly
as she was supposed to, and I’ll be there’s
some terrific data on the ground now about
Saturn’s atmosphere. – I’ll bet you’re right. What was your favorite
memory of Cassini? Or share a story, just
anything that comes to mind. – My two favorite moments were
both having to do with Titan. One was seeing the seas of Titan for the first time from
the radar on Cassini. And the other was
seeing the surface of Titan from the
Huygen’s probe. Sitting with 30 other people
in a trailer in the middle of Germany in the middle of
winter, it was cold and dark. And there were
the first pictures of gullies on the surface
of an alien world. – That had to just
blow your mind. – It did, I was screaming,
so was everyone else. – Well I think the mood’s been
a little bit more somber now, but there was applause
right near the end. I think this is a
celebration of Cassini’s life and Cassini’s legacy
and we should talk a little bit about the future. What do you see next
for the Saturn system? – Well, what I would
like to see next for the Saturn system is
that we go back there. There’s so many things
that Cassini has given us in terms of a legacy to explore. Enceladus and the
possibility of life. Titan and its amazing lakes
and seas and hydrologic cycle. Saturn and the rings
and the mysteries of what lies beneath the clouds. There’s an awful
lot that Cassini has said to us, we must
go back and explore. – Yeah, there’s a lot left
to do in the Saturn system and elsewhere in the
solar system as well. Well this has been an
international mission and an intergenerational
mission, right, it’s been such a joy
for someone like me to be able to be mentored
by veterans like you. In terms of following on
Cassini’s legacy and mentoring the next generation,
what do you see in terms of next missions coming
up, being able to bring in the next generation of
scientists and engineers? – First of all, I’m
very very confident and optimistic about
the next generation, because I can see that the
experts are here already. So we will be well
served in the future. Of course, NASA is
going back to Europa with the Europa Clipper,
which is very exciting. And the Europeans are
doing JUICE to the other Galilean moons and there are
number of concepts out there for going back to Enceladus
and Titan and to Saturn. We don’t know if any
of those are going to happen in the next
few years but we’ll see. There are lots of ideas,
the important point is that Cassini has gotta be
a jumping off point to even more exciting
exploratory missions. We can’t let it
stop at this point, we have to keep going on. We will in the Jupiter system. We need to go back to Saturn, we need to go to
Uranus and Neptune. We need to do the whole
outer solar system. – We need to, the outer planets. I think one of the amazing
things that Cassini has shown us is that it’s
not a boring cold place. It’s dynamic, it’s
so incredibly varied. Just the differences in
the moons of Saturn alone. It inspires us to wanna
go back and to learn more. – Yeah, you know, 40 years
ago, Voyager One was launched. And it was Voyager
One and Two that broke open the outer
solar system for us, told us that this was not
a cold dead gray place. And then Galileo and Cassini
followed on and showed us what really amazing things
are going on in those systems and that there might in fact
be places for life to exist in Europa and
Enceladus and Titan. And I have a poem I wanna read
to you as well at some point. Is this a good time? – I think it’s a great time. – Okay, you know a lot has been
said about Cassini already, and the end of the mission,
but I think that the best I could to do leave for
me, leave this celebration of Cassini’s end is to
read a bit of a poem by Swinburne, On
the Verge, which was a nautical poem about
death and dying. Death, sailing on the sea
as a metaphor for death. And so I’m gonna read
the last few lines of it. And I’ve changed one of the
words, it’ll be obvious. Ah but here Cassini’s
heart leaps, yearning toward the gloom
with venturous glee. Though her pilot eye
behold nor bay nor harbor, rock nor shoal, from the
shore that hath no shore beyond it set in all the sea. – That’s beautiful. You had to do that, didn’t you? – I did, sorry about that. – Thank you Johnathan
for everything. – Well Morgan, the
future is in your hands and the hands of your
generation, and this was a moment of transition,
it was not the end. And so let’s go forth
and explore the solar
system together. – Alright. – That’s a beautiful sentiment. Well with me now is NASA
Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen. Dr. Zurbuchen, what
was your reaction being in that control room? – I was just
overwhelmed with just understanding how
professional this team is. You know, like during
the entire time this was clearly
emotional for everybody. The lucky peanuts were there,
but there are lot of Kleenex, and there’s a lot
of use of Kleenex. But everybody was so
professional to the very end, and I just saw it happening,
you know, it went so fast. You know, somebody
was shouting out, ah, we’re struggling with Z
axis, and oh, it’s gone. And I just saw that team holding
together ’til the very end. Just really it’s all about
teamwork with this mission, and it showed in
the last seconds. – It truly did. And your feelings about this, what sort of legacy do you
think this mission leaves? – You know, I really
do think it rewrote not only what we know about
the outer solar system, but how we think as
humans about ourselves. You know, these worlds
that it found we never knew were there are changing how
we think about life itself. And so for me,
that’s why it’s truly a civilization-scale
mission, one that will stand out among other
missions anywhere. – And how will it
impact future ideas and future missions
as we plan new things? – You know, some of the
hardest questions to answer are questions like is
there life out there? And this mission really
has redefined that. It will affect how we
think about that question. So of course we’re tackling
that at NASA with a multitude of missions, looking at
Mars, trying to bring samples back, but also
looking at Europa, looking at these
outer ocean worlds and finding these worlds
all over the universe, all over our galaxy,
every, you know. There’s thousands
of these exoplanets and you know, Saturn-like,
Jupiter-like kind of exoplanets that we’re discovering and we’re thinking about in
a totally new way. – And so the thought is people
are clamoring to go back. Will that be difficult to do, to be able to envision another
mission to these places soon? – It’s always very
difficult, right, to do this. Because these
machines are so hard. To go back and for example take
the next step on Enceladus, we wanna really think
what that will take. Now there’s great ideas
already out there. And perhaps some of these
ideas will come to fruition relatively early, I
don’t know, but you know, we wanna really start
thinking about this and start talking about it
in the science community. We’re all waiting for
current stem to really start, you know, making
plans so we can create a consensus as to what
direction we wanna go at. Yes we wanna really go back. This is such a wonderful system, we don’t wanna leave it alone. – Right, and such
a beautiful one. And it’s affected
so many people. Dr. Zurbuchen, thank you so much for sharing this moment with us. A very special one.
– Thanks to you. – Alright.
– Thanks to the team. – Well the Cassini-Huygens
team was a multi-international team and in just a few
moments from now we will be speaking to
members of ESA and ASI about their feelings
about this mission. [dramatic music] As we told you earlier,
Cassini-Huygens was a multi-national endeavor
from the very very start. A partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency,
and the Italian Space Agency. This is an equally proud
moment for ESA and ASI, and the ESA director of
science, Alvaro Gimenez, joins us, and the president
of ASI, Roberto Battiston are here to share
this historic moment. Thank you so much for coming. Was this something
that you decided you couldn’t miss
it for the world? – Of course we couldn’t miss it, because we knew this
moment was gonna come. It’s a little bit sad,
because we wanted to delay it as much as possible and get
as much science as possible. But we knew it was coming. In that sense it’s sad, but
it’s also very nice to see that we have opened the possibility
for the future science also. And for the scientist to work on the data that
Cassini has collected. But also as an example
and I think we have to build on this
cooperation between the US and Europe in ambitious
missions like this. We are very proud of
having worked together and we have to make sure
that we continue this way, because together we
can do much better. – And much more–
– Than separate. – And Roberto, your feelings. I mean to be a part of this. – It is a very
historical moment, and being part of that is really something very
emotionally intense. I was not there 20 years
ago when this started, but I know the story of all
my friend and colleagues. And Cassini demonstrated
we can do that. We can create the conditions
for the international collaboration, the mission
was operated 20 years. We can learn an inter amount
of things for the future is one step gigantic
step toward the future. And really we should hope
this is not the last one, that this is the only the
first one in a series. – Were you surprised at how
long this mission has lasted? And the amount of information and science that it
has brought back? – Not so much about the length, I think we all dreamt about it. But the discoveries and what
we have found in the Cassini system, in the Saturn
system, are simply amazing. We were surprised by that. – And ESA’s role with
Huygens and working on Titan. I mean, what was the
high points for you? – Well for me, Huygens
was getting to Titan. We landed there in 2005. But the whole purpose was to understand the
atmosphere of Titan. To analyze the atmosphere, which is a pretty
exotic atmosphere, full of nitrogen and methane
and those kind of elements, which is what we thought that
these bodies outside the outer part of the solar system were
before life could appear. And we wanted to analyze that. But then we found that
we could even land. When the mission was designed, we didn’t know how
the surface was. We didn’t know if it was going
to sink or land or whatever. – And it was alive for
some time when it landed. – And it was alive,
and that was amazing, because also we could see
first this was the furthest away landing every of
a human made probe. But also we found a landscape
totally unexpected of Titan. Something similar
to Earth actually. – [Gay] Very. – With lakes and rivers and
mountains and very filming, but with a totally different
chemical composition. Totally different world. And with the cycles of
methane rather than water. But it is so interesting,
it’s so attractive I guess. – But looking at it, it does
look very very familiar. And Roberto, let’s talk about ASI’s role and the
high gain antenna. So often the project relied
on the high gain antenna as protection for the
rest of the spacecraft, was that something
that was planned and you thought this is
a way to use the antenna? – This antenna is amazing. It’s probably the
most sophisticated antenna ever built
for a space mission. Receiving and transmitting a
field four different bands at the same time, operating for
20 years, almost 20 years ago. So that was at the core of
it, but indeed you’re right. That was designed to be as a passive thermal
protection system. Going into Venus
this was shielding the satellite from the
intense solar radiation. And getting into the
Saturn environment, it was shielding again
the micrometeorite. Basically measuring by the
vibration on the antenna itself the amount of micrometeorite
it was hitting and to use that as a
protection when entering in certain location like
the space between the Uranus and the Saturn planet, which
was unknown, totally unknown. And I think this is amazing. Such a sophisticated
instrument we use a thermal shield call, as
micrometeorite shield indeed. – And Cassini was such
a well-made machine and served so well, I
think in its entire flight it had only safed I think
three times and that was all. But could not have done it
without both ASI and ESA. And we are so pleased that
you are here and joining us. – These are the kind of
stories about space mission that should be told,
because the fact it was most perfectly designed
without trouble is a tremendous giant
bonds that should be known. – Right. Well thank you again for
coming out and being with us on this very very special day.
– Thank you. – Alright. [relaxed music] And that video you just saw
was called Cassini Inspires. It was made up of images that
the public, you, sent in using some of Cassini’s raw images
as well as your own artwork. Thank you so much. Well that wraps it up from here. A bittersweet for the Cassini
team, but we can’t help but feel proud of the
fantastic people that made these accomplishments
possible these last 20 years. And about an hour from now, at 6:30 AM Pacific,
9:30 AM Eastern, there will be a news briefing
on Cassini’s grand finale. It will be live on NASA
TV and also streamed. And for more information
about the mission, you can check out the URLs
you see on the screen. And a little bit earlier, Jim Green told you
about the e-books. Some of the most memorable gifts from Cassini are those
specactular images. An e-book of these stunning
images has been made, and you can find it by going to that link you
see on the screen. Well finally before
we go, a parting look at the DSN now image, the
display you see there. Antenna 43, that’s the one
in Australia, is now dark. Communication with the
spacecraft is now silent. Cassini is no more, but what
a legacy it leaves behind. Thanks for joining us.

100 thoughts on “NASA Mission Control Live: Cassini’s Finale at Saturn

  1. If given the choice I am sure that I would have sent it into Saturn as well. But my question is, did it create a little bit a space junk in Saturn's upper atmosphere or did it all burn up into nothing but vapor?

  2. Thank you so much !! Please let us know what kind of data sent us Cassini in it's very last moment. Once again thank you very very much !! See you on the next journey to space !

  3. I don't know how they kept a straight face, I cried..but I know I couldn't begin to love Cassini as they did…sweet sleep Cassini…and thank you valiant friend. Great job guys!!!! Praise God the author and creator of it all…we are explorers on a journey.

  4. Wow what terrible "coverage".. Why can't we see what they're seeing? We spent 20 years just to see a group of people sitting behind computer screens? What a huge let down..

  5. It was my birthday when cassini got plunged into Saturn's space….😢😢😢😢 A strange feeling my heart cried….R.I.P. CASSINI #remember_u_forever

  6. Cassini enters Saturn's atmosphere…

    Alien Scout: We are under attack!

    Alien General: Determine the origin of that probe!

    ………………

    Alien Analyst: Probe identified. Name: Cassini. Origin: Earth.

    Alien General: Prepare for counter attack!

  7. Why could Cassini not be put on a trajectory that will take it to deeper space? What's the logic behind the kamikaze stunt? Why the euthanasia? Why could the anchor explore this side of Cassini where it is sent into deeper space?

  8. We will miss you, Cassini! Your legacy will live on forevermore!
    maybe NASA should rename or name something in honour of Cassini's contribution to science… maybe… hey, JPL; why don't we name the hexagonal weather phenomenon on Saturn's North Pole "The Cassini phenomenon", or something similar?

  9. Thank you everyone who made cassini possible. JOB WELL DONE GUYS! So proud to all of you. I hope someday I can work for something remarkable as this! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👌🏼 #ProudEarthling

  10. My question as follows: How come we could land the Huygens probe on Titan but not Cassini? Don't both objects endanger potential life?

  11. All great scientists in nasa we all people around the globe thanking you for making us to watch beyond our visual…as i can see in this video its very much heartbreak feeling for all the Cassini team … Thank you for making me feel great to live in such good era of technology…and very special thanks again to all Cassini crew members and project manager thank you all and have much more great achievements ahead good luck

  12. One thing the manager of the cassini space program got wrong was when he says they are not allowed to leave it up there like that cause of interntionl laws. Not that this is the real important part. But technically that would not fall under a international guidlens label. That would technically fall under a intergalactical means or safey. Cause this subject clearly surpasses international boundries. But still this is a very farout and groovy topic i have been keepin up with and waiting this for a long time. And i mean back when they first launched it. I was like man when that goes down haha the humor in saying when that goes down. But i said when that actually happens we are goin to make one astronomically huge jump im the evolutionary gap of reality and life as it has never nefore been seen. This is where humans discover something brand new. possibly like a whole new type of physical plane or force that can and will never exist in or on earth. And the only way to see it use it or experience it is to be in that part of the galaxy in the universe. This is where new realms of impossible exsistance is found possible. Cassini is like Houdini. Pushing moves and stunts through space to the edge of its ability. Till finnally it's fait catches up to it. And it suffers an inevitable outcome do to its tremendously stunning display of amazement displayed for people to see. So yall stay grooovy and let yalls ideas surpass the boundries of life as we know it. This is proof that it can happen.

  13. I drew up the basic sketch for a robotic spacecraft companion that fixes issues remotely and can grab with one hand and work with three or control itself with small rockets and work with four. Its capable of maintenance on any satellites. Automated refueling. They can be 12 inches squares or 3 foot bigger units or 10 foot giants that can make it to the James web by itself and orbit independently for 20 years waiting for a job. 18 inches is probably big enough for most task so it can carry its tools all with it.

  14. Light weight shielding they could work and go back to a safe compartment where it can maintain an even strain during solar storms. Hobble needed one

  15. Conscience life. Time travel doesn't work backwards. Its recorded moments that travel forward along with us bring the past to present and future. That's not exciting but true. Building things propels your life beyond you into the future.

  16. Atomic clocks are effected by radiation as they increase speed hitting more parts lubing it consistently. Time doesn't change. Atoms do.

  17. I told them life is in the protectonic zones that follow the mantles down when cooling. Like giant plates sinking as its shielded above like an egg incubator. The moon has life in abundance about 700 miles deep where its warm

  18. That gravity is way less its dense but not unlovable in protectonic zones where electricity is generated by friction

  19. I don't have time to collect money for creation or creation is neglected. I need government small time funding to eat

  20. This made me feel real sad to see the spacecraft plunge into the saturnia atmosphere and melt away, but I know this was unprecedented mission. Awesome job well done, Linda spilker, Earl and many others who worked on the Cassini program! You all did an awesome job!

  21. This is great work by NASA. I just have one problem: drop all the music off all your videos. The music detracts from the information. . . I have my own music and I can listen to it anytime I like.

  22. and where are the real footage images of the dive, please.. if Imay ask? I ve been searching all over youtube and only seeing animation… So what are you hidding?

  23. I feel like that some best friend died in front of me when the signal turned into a line.

    I hope in the End of my Life, My family and friends will applaud for that, and say that my life is a incredible mission.

  24. people are dying on Earth, politicians are crazy, Europe is flooding the Zombie apocalypse and you are swimming in pools xD

  25. That was the Big Thing! Thank you NASA, thanks to Cassini team and thanks to that outstanding spacecraft.

  26. Imagine if one day at the JPL, as the people head home for the day, someone says "Uhm, sirs, we just received a signal. It's Cassini, it survived."

  27. For all those searching for The moment. Here it is @56:26 .. Sad announcement. But yet a job well done! Good job Cassini. I have a crying feeling…

  28. L'orbita bassa e sparita ma come si fa credere queste STORIE la signora Samantha cristoforetti della nave spaziale interplanetaria ISS 🤣😂🤣😂 durante un intervista diceva che non si è ancora superata ….tutta grafica non si va da nessuna parte…..🤡🤣😂🤣🤣🤡🤣😂🤣😂🤣

  29. God! This is painful to watch, yet so peaceful. It reminds me of putting a dog, a best friend for 12 years, down to rest one last time. It's what the dog, or this case spacecraft, deserves. To go out peacefully with a proper farewell.

    To the team: Thank you for what you provided us. Mankind will be forever grateful for the insight you gave us into our little speck(s), that we call home, among the infinitely vast universe.

    To Cassini: You are free at last, so enjoy Saturn until the death of the Sun!

  30. I just watch this video even though it's one year or two years that long. Thank you nasa for making this kind of mission and of course thank you cassini for giving us lot of knowleged about saturn😍😭

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