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NASA's Cassini spacecraft is shown heading for the gap between Saturn and its rings during one of 22 such dives of the mission's finale in this illustration. The spacecraft will make a final plunge into the planet's atmosphere on Sept. 15. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will end its extraordinary journey to Saturn on Sept. 15, descending into the crushing pressure of Saturn’s atmosphere and sending back final pieces of data that explore the gas giant in an entirely new way. Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for 13 years, sling-shotting around the moon Titan this April to line up for its last mission. NASA has been releasing pictures throughout the mission, and now has interviewed members of Cassini’s control team about the completion of the lengthy scientific endeavor.

Cassini is a two-and-a-half ton probe outfitted with 12 science instruments and powered by an engine with two isolated propulsion systems, a hydrazine monopropellant system and a Nitrogen Tetroxide (NTO)/Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) bipropellant system.

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