Cassini's final orbits of Saturn. Animation of the planet Saturn, showing the final orbits (blue lines) of the Cassini spacecraft as it passes between Saturn's atmosphere and its rings. The Cassini spacecraft has been surveying the Saturnian system since 2004, with its mission scheduled to end with a final dive to destruction (red line) into Saturn's atmosphere on 15 September 2017. A total of 22 polar orbits and dives between the planet and its inner rings, plus the final de-orbiting, are the concluding phase ('Grand Finale') of its mission. Animation published in 2017.