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Destined to crash: Cassini's grand finale

Beckman Auditorium

The Cassini spacecraft has had quite a life over the past two decades. It has sailed past the dusty rings of Saturn, skimmed the massive hexagonal storm at the planet's North Pole, checked out the icy dunes of Titan and tasted the potentially life-filled geysers of Enceladus. Now, after exploring the Saturn system for more than a decade, Cassini's mission will come to an end this September, when it descends into and burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. 

Our audience joined KPCC’s science reporter Jacob Margolis and the Planetary Society’s Mat Kaplan for an event that celebrated the life of Cassini and the people who made the mission possible. Margolis took guests on a storytelling adventure through Cassini’s mission — its perilous swings past gas giants, icy rings and moons that carry the precursors for life. Kaplan led an onstage discussion with the JPL scientists and engineers who have been working on the project since the 1980s and made it all possible.


Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society senior editor 

Earl Maize, Cassini Mission project manager

Linda Spilker, Cassini Mission project scientist

Julie Webster, Cassini Mission Spacecraft operations manager