NASA's Cassini spacecraft flies between Saturn and its rings!
NASA's Cassini became the first spacecraft to enter the gap between Saturn and its rings.
New Delhi: NASA's Cassini spacecraft has plunged into the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. It is the first of the spaceship's 22 deep dives between Saturn and its innermost ring.
The spacecraft was out of radio contact with Earth on Wednesday because its big dish antenna was maneuvered face forward to protect science instruments from potentially damaging ring particles.
— CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) April 26, 2017
If Cassini survives the trip, it could make radio contact with Earth as early as 3:05 am (12:35 pm IST) on April 27. The spacecraft will also make 21 more crossings before its demise in September.
Cassini spacecrfat is a joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
The 22-foot-tall (6.7 meter) spacecraft launched in 1997 and began orbiting Saturn in 2004.
Cassini is running low on fuel, and will make a death plunge into Saturn's surface on September 15.
The decision to end the mission was made in 2010, to avoid damaging moons like Enceladus, which could be explored for signs of life in the future.
(With Agency inputs)