Cassini’s Death Dive Into Saturn Imminent

These are the highest-resolution color images of any part of Saturn’s rings to date and show a section of the planet’s bright B-ring. The narrow ringlets in the middle of this scene are each about 25 miles (40 km) wide, and the broader bands at right are about 200 to 300 miles (300 to 500 km) across. Cassini will bite the dust early Friday morning, September 15. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s 13-year Cassini mission at Saturn ends Friday. At 5:31 a.m. CDT, Cassini will enter Saturn’s atmosphere, and by 7 a.m., after traveling 932 million miles and 83 minutes, its final bit of data will reach mission control. Then silence.

In the remaining days, its mission status will be updated here. The following list includes news conferences and online broadcasts to take you to the mission’s end:

A favorite Cassini image. The spinning vortex of Saturn’s north polar storm resembles a deep red rose of giant proportions surrounded by green foliage in this false-color image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The eye measures an amazing 1,250 miles (2,000 km) across with cloud speeds as fast as 330 mph (150 meters per second). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Today, Sept. 13,

Noon CDT (17:00 Greenwich Time)

Cassini mission news conference will give a detailed preview of Cassini’s final mission activities on NASA TV online.

Thursday, Sept. 14

Noon to 5 p.m. CDT (17:00-22:00 GMT)  NASA social event with speakers and Q&A sessions with scientists and engineers behind the Cassini mission. Watch on NASA TV online. They’ll also be answering #askNASA questions submitted online.

About 10 p.m. CDT (3:00 GMT) Cassini’s final images will be streamed online on NASA TV.

Friday, Sept. 15

6-7:30 a.m. CDT (11-12:30 GMT) Live commentary about the mission finale. An uninterrupted camera feed, with mission audio only, will be available on the NASA TV Media Channel and Ustream. Cassini’s last signal will arrive about 7 a.m. CDT (12:00 GMT).

8:30 a.m. CDT (13:30 GMT)  Post-mission news conference from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on NASA TV.