The NASA Cassini orbiter ended its 13-year exploration of the Saturn system on September 15, 2017, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere as planned. LASP designed, built, tested, and operated Cassini’s UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS). Even though the mission has ended, team members worldwide will continue to interpret instrument observations and publish results in scientific journals for years to come.
During the six months preceding Cassini’s dramatic finale, UVIS collected valuable information that was too risky to obtain earlier in the mission. These discoveries include the closest images ever obtained of Saturn’s auroras and the glowing air of Saturn that enveloped the spacecraft during Cassini’s final data transmission.
Although the end of the mission was bittersweet for all involved, Cassini’s “Grand Finale” ensured that its entire payload, including UVIS, contributed awe-inspiring and unique science data right up to its final moments. Cassini deepened our understanding of the universe and heightened our connection to the outer solar system. At its conclusion, it will be remembered as one of the most scientifically rich and impactful voyages yet undertaken.
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