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Cassini spacecraft ready for its grand finale

The Cassini spacecraft is going where no ship has gone before as it begins a series of dives into the space between Saturn and its magnificent rings.

The countdown to Cassini’s grand finale with daring dives between Saturn & its rings. Picture: Twitter/@CassiniSaturn.

JOHANNESBURG – Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft has been delivering views of Saturn and its moons for 13 years now, and this year it will meet its ultimate fate: burning in Saturn’s atmosphere.

On Wednesday, it begins a series of dives into the space between Saturn and its magnificent rings.

Cassini is an unpiloted spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn.

It’s the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit and its mission is ongoing as of April 2017.

The craft will grace Saturn’s upper atmosphere a number of times during these passes and will achieve a truly insane top speed of over 76,800 miles per hour (123,597km/h) in relation to the planet.

Ultimately, Cassini’s life will end on 15 September when its final dive ends and the satellite cruises straight into Saturn’s atmosphere. The friction is expected to tear the craft to pieces, incinerating it even as it sends back its very last messages to Earth.

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