Collision course

In ‘grand finale,’ Cassini spacecraft sets off on collision course with Saturn

Cassini and Saturn
The Cassini spacecraft will explore the uncharted territory between Saturn and its rings (shown in this artist’s illustration) before plunging into the planet’s atmosphere in September.

DEEP DIVE

Cassini is bravely going where no spacecraft has gone before — between Saturn and its rings.

The probe, which launched in 1997 and has orbited Saturn since 2004, starts this daring expedition April 22. It will fly through the 2,400-kilometer-wide gap between Saturn and its rings 22 times before plunging into the planet’s atmosphere and burning up on Sept. 15.

Mission scientists designed this dramatic…