Cassini's ring-grazing and final orbits of Saturn, animation
Cassini's ring-grazing and final orbits of Saturn. Animation of the planet Saturn, showing the ring-grazing orbits (white lines) and the final orbits (blue lines) of the Cassini spacecraft. 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. The ring-grazing orbits took place from November 2016. The final orbits began in 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.