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Cassini Spacecraft successfully penetrates through Saturn's Rings
In a major experiment, NASA has been successful in making an unmanned NASA spacecraft survive its surge into the rings of Saturn. This came after the spacecraft shortly went dark for the flyby, and is now re-communicating with Earth.

Cassini flirted closer than any of the last spacecrafts to the sixth planet from the Sun, and lived all pretty much to tell the tale, sending back a signal that arrived about 20 hours after the crossing took place. It was an early Thursday morning.

 

"No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before. We could only rely on predictions, based on our experience with Saturn's other rings, of what we thought this gap between the rings and Saturn would be like," said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

 

"I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape."

The gaps in between the rings and the top of the sixth planet's atmosphere are about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) wide.


These rings are made up of very fast-moving particles of space debris and ice that have the potential of striking and disabling the spacecraft.


At a velocity of about 77,000 miles per hour relative to the planet, Cassini ripped through.

 

During the journey, the unmanned spacecraft will make a total of 22 dives between the rings and the planet before it makes the fatal plunge into the gas giant in September.

It's next encounter is scheduled for 2nd
 of May.

This spacecraft is a joint mission of the European Space Agency, NASA and the Italian Space Agency. It was launched in 1997 and has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.

Currently, Cassini is running low on fuel and the scientists have decided to put it's mission to an end rather than risking the damage of one of Saturn's moons, whose subsurface oceans may be explored for signs of life in the future.

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