Goodbye Cassini…From Beginning To Grande Finale [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

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Nothing captured the imagination like Cassini’s Grand Finale which was the final chapter in a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery,  Twenty-two times, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft dove into the unexplored space between Saturn and its rings and these dramatic missions gave usultra-close passes over the planet could be some of the most exciting revelations ever returned by the long-lived spacecraft. This animated video tells the story of Cassini’s final, daring assignment and looks back at what the mission has accomplished.  The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Cassini’s Grand Finale, please visit

Producers at JPL worked with filmmaker Erik Wernquist, known for his 2014 short film “Wanderers,” to create a stirring finale video using his signature animation style incoporating real images from space missions as a starting point, which gives the resulting animations an uncanny authenticity. And dazzlingly as the vistas he creates have an uncommonly powerful sense of scale that conveys the vastness of the planetary locales NASA spacecraft have visited.

This short computer-animated film highlights Cassini’s accomplishments and Saturn and reveals the science-packed final orbits between April and September 2017.

Full Transcript:


A lone explorer, on a mission to reveal the grandeur of Saturn, its rings and moons.

After 20 years in space NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is running out of fuel. And so, to protect moons of Saturn that could have conditions suitable for life, a spectacular end has been planned for this long-lived traveler from Earth.

In 2004, following a 7-year journey through the solar system, Cassini arrived at Saturn. The spacecraft carried a passenger, the European Huygens probe — the first human-made object to land on a world in the distant outer solar system.

For over a decade, Cassini has shared the wonders of Saturn and its family of icy moons, taking us to astounding worlds where methane rivers run to a methane sea.

Where jets of ice and gas are blasting material into space from a liquid water ocean that might harbor the ingredients for life.

And Saturn — a giant world ruled by raging storms and delicate harmonies of gravity.

Now, Cassini has one last, daring assignment.

Cassini’s Grand Finale is a brand new adventure. Twenty-two dives through the space between Saturn and its rings. As it repeatedly braves this unexplored region,

Cassini seeks new insights about the origins of the rings, and the nature of the planet’s interior — closer to Saturn than ever before.

On the final orbit, Cassini will plunge into Saturn fighting to keep its antenna pointed at Earth as it transmits its farewell.

In the skies of Saturn, the journey ends, as Cassini becomes part of the planet itself.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute



NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech