Cassini dived into the big empty


The NASA Cassini-Huygens (unmanned satellite) has impressively pulled a successful plunge into the gap between Saturn and its Rings on its first plunge last week. It was reported to have faced a very little collision with particles.
There had been fears that the spacecraft could be damaged if it hit a rock. The radio dish of the spacecraft was pointing forward as if it was a shield when it made the dive.
Early Maize, project manager of Cassini commented: “Even a piece of sand at that velocity could take out one of our instruments, or if in the wrong place, could cripple the spacecraft.”
However, an analysis revealed that the probe only hit smoke-sized particles which hardly made any significant impact.
According to Maize, “The region between Saturn and its ring is ‘the big empty’, Cassini will stay the course, while our scientists try to figure out why the there was a lower level of dust than expected”.
Cassini still has another mission to execute in September which will be it’s very last one, thus the outcome of the first dive is a great news and it has increased the determination to plunge into the inner D-Ring of Saturn.
Cassini has been scheduled for 21 dives between the planet and it’s D-ring. The second dive is scheduled for Tuesday, 2nd May.
The objective of the dives is to collect new data on the unprecedented measures on the dynamics and composition of the interior structure of the planet. The spacecraft will collect particles from the rings of the planet. However, the scientists are uncertain if the rings are as old as the planet.
NASA have made plans to abandon the spacecraft in Saturn’s upper atmosphere after its last plunge which will end its two decades mission of data collecting because it is running out of fuel. NASA sees it as a safe disposal of the spacecraft rather than letting it collide with the moons, Titian and Enceladus, which might be harmful to the potential life-sustaining environment.