Exploring the Solar System

Exploring the Outer Planets

What is the plan for Cassini as the mission continues?

As long as the spacecraft survives, Cassini will continue to orbit Saturn in looping, butterfly-shaped paths. Along the way, it will make numerous flybys of Saturn’s rings and moons, even after its science mission ends. Like Galileo around Jupiter, scientists do not want to contaminate possible ecosystems or pre-biological environments, so it is possible, when the mission is finally over, that flight controllers will crash the spacecraft into an outer moon of Saturn, where it will cause no ecological harm.


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