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The Cassini Spacecraft Burns Up In Saturn's Atmosphere

According to NASA Cassini used its visual and infrared mapping spectrometer to observe the impact site which was at the time on Saturn¿s night side. Then it was lit only by light reflected from the planet¿s massive rings. This image shows

In this time the spacecraft has traveled more than one billion miles and helped reveal the secrets of Saturn and its moons.

The spacecraft Cassini is pictured above Saturn's northern hemisphere prior to making one of its Grand Finale dives in this NASA handout illustration obtained by Reuters on August 29.

Cassini showed us worlds beyond our own.

The probe transmitted all of its data, including the final images, back to earth.

In its final moments, Cassini came in over Saturn's north pole and made contact with the upper atmosphere of the gas giant and broke apart, sending back a minute or so of data before it was overcome by turbulence. "This has been an incredible mission, an incredible spacecraft and you are all an incredible team". "I'm going to call this the end of mission", said Maize, once the signal disappeared.

As Cassini lost signals, flight controllers wearing purple shirts stood and hugged each other and shook hands.

More than 1500 people, many of them past and present team members, had gathered at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for what was described as both a vigil and celebration.

During those nearly 20 years, Cassini flew through space and nearby Saturn to gather groundbreaking information on the makeup and structure of Saturn's rings. Though very different, the two moons have the potential to have developed life. They, therefore, maneuvered the probe to perform its merry-go-round flight through the planet's rings since its momentum and Saturn's gravity would keep Cassini moving despite almost running out of propellant.

The probe is expected to burn up as it enters the solar system's second largest planet's atmosphere at around 12.55pm today, however the last transmissions won't be received on earth until 83 minutes later.

She also praised the Cassini spacecraft for proving the incredible information since it arrived in 2004, which compared the water to the food of data by the "a giant fire hose". Nothing from Earth has landed farther.

Cassini, an worldwide project that cost $3.9 billion and included scientists from 27 nations, has run out of rocket fuel as expected after a journey of 7.9 billion kilometers.

British scientists and the European Space Agency (ESA) worked alongside Nasa in the historic mission - which saw the first ever landing on an outer solar system world when the Huygen attachment separated from Cassini to land on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, in 2005. It was an global endeavor, with 27 nations taking part.

The total cost of the planetary exploration mission was $3.26 billion.